Out of My Mind is a fictitious novel by Sharon M. Draper. It is about an 11 year old girl, Melody who has cerebral palsy. In the end of the book, the section that says, "Behind the Book," Draper explains that she didn't write this book for anyone to "feel sorry for Melody." She wanted Melody to be "accepted as a character and as a person, not as a representative for people with disabilities."
One theme is that looks aren't everything. The common phrase "don't judge a book by it's cover," really shines true in this book. Though Melody can't do many physical things, with her disease cerebral palsy, she has an amazing mind. She absorbs almost everything she hears and stores it in her mind. But she can't share this knowledge or tell anyone how much she really knows. Despite her looks and people's common misjudgments about her she knows many, many things and is very, very smart.
Another theme is being accepted. Melody was always stuck in the special needs class. Physically, she needs it but the class always goes over the ABC's or they watch The Lion King day in and day out. It is all so boring to Melody because she knows all this and she wants to learn new things. Then one day, her new teacher allows her to enter an inclusion program in the school. This would mean that she would be able to, for an hour a day, go to the regular fifth grade class and listen to their lesson or meet the kids in that class.While two girls, Molly and Claire are rude to Melody, one girl, Rose is very accepting to Melody and doesn't treat her as though she has a disability. Melody finally feels like she is starting to fit in and make friends. But, in the end Rose actually leaves Melody behind because of her physical appearance.
A last theme is that true and loyal friends will accept you. Catherine, Melody's caregiver, truly believes in Melody, is a true friend, and helps her with many things. She can understand Melody and is always there to cheer her on. Mrs. V also was truly accepting of Melody. Right from when Melody was a baby, Mrs. V was strong and believed in her. She made Melody turn because she knew she could even though she has cerebral palsy. Mrs. V was always there taking care of Melody and never giving up on her.
In the beginning, Melody was stuck in the special needs classroom going over things that Melody knew by heart. Then she is allowed to visit the regular fifth grade classes as part of and integration program. She makes a friend, Rose and also makes it on to the Whiz Kids team. The team went to a competition and they won so they trained for the next and even bigger competition. Melody is very smart and contributes much to the team, yet when they get ready to fly to the competition, no one informs her that the plane leaves earlier than expected. So she is left behind and her team doesn't win first place. However, even though at first sad and upset, Melody doesn't feel resentful to her team. She forgives them.
Draper's purpose of writing this book was to entertain but also give us readers an understanding of Melody's life. Draper said, "Melody is a tribute to all the parents of disabled kids who struggle, to all those children who are misunderstood, to all those caregivers who help every step of the way. It's also written for people who look away, who pretend they don't see, or who don't know what to say when they encounter someone who faces life with obvious differences. Just smile and say hello!”