Out of My Heart – book review

Out of My Heart
sequel to “Out of My Mind”
by Sharon Draper
Realistic Fiction
* * * * Stars (Great!)

Melody has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair because she has trouble controlling how her body moves. She also has difficulty speaking, but has an assistive device that she calls “Elvira” that allows her to type out what she wants to say. In “Out of My Mind” Melody found her voice through Elvira and showed everyone just how smart and capable she was. Now she’s ready for her next adventure – summer camp! She does some research and discovers that there’s a camp only a couple of hours from her house that caters to kids with “special needs” (a term she doesn’t really like). After convincing her parents that she wants to go REALLY badly, they make the arrangements. Melody gets to attend, but only has a few days to get ready (she is able to take an open spot when someone has to cancel). There’s a lot to do – shopping for camp stuff, packing, and making detailed lists/instructions for the camp staff about Melody’s needs and requirements. By the time she actually arrives, Melody (as well as some of the other campers) aren’t sure they want to stay! It’s scary to leave the comforts of home and her family and everything familiar for this new place, but Melody (and the others) stick it out. They get to do things they never thought they would – swimming, boating, horseback riding, even zip-lining! And something even more wonderful happens, too – Melody finds a group of friends and a community that she has never had before. She even has a (reciprocated!) crush. It’s really just the best summer ever and gives her such a great boost in confidence. This is such a great follow-up to “Out of My Mind,” which, honestly, had me so angry and frustrated on Melody’s behalf for the way she was treated by her classmates and teachers and everyone who didn’t really understand her intelligence and her challenges. This was just so refreshing. Great read for upper elementary school and middle school kids.

Reviewed by YA Librarian

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