Originally released in 2010, Out of My Mind was a sensation. Melody, an 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, captivated the hearts and minds of millions with her story.
Melody’s voice was one of the first to resonate with children and parents all over the world in books like Out of My Mind. Imagine having a lot to say but not being able to convey it in a way that is understandable to the neurotypical.?
Out of My Mind provides a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a person who is unable to communicate in the same way as the majority of people. For those who have read Melody’s story, we have some suggestions for books that you might enjoy.
Books like Out of My Mind
A Step Toward Falling, by Cammie McGovern
Would you be brave enough to intervene and protect a vulnerable individual from harm? In the novel A Step Toward Falling, that is the central theme.
This middle-grade novel, like Out of My Mind, explores the attitudes and behaviors of non-disabled people toward disabled people.
As a teenager, Emily believes she always does and says the right things, and the story follows her journey. Emily’s classmate Belinda is also a student there. As a result of her developmental disabilities, she is a popular member of the community.
A teacher dismisses Emily after she reports seeing some football jocks sexually assaulting Belinda while the two are at a football game. Emily is paralyzed by fear. The rest of the story revolves around sexual assault and society’s preconceptions about people with disabilities.
The reader, like Emily, is immediately prompted to ponder the question, “What would I do?”
The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin
Out of My Mind is a book that loves to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. An emotional roller coaster, The Thing About Jellyfish was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award.
Suzy stops speaking after her best friend dies in a drowning accident. She is convinced that a rare jellyfish sting was the culprit after retreating into her own mind. Things don’t happen for no reason, after all. Or is that the case?
In addition to its focus on grief and how people cope with it, this is a great book for any middle-schooler to read. Benjamin does an excellent job of situating Suzy’s grief within the context of her quest to meet the world’s foremost jellyfish expert. This was a heart-wrenching story to read.
Restart, by Gordon Korman
In books like Out of My Mind, starting a story by throwing you into the deep end is a fun way to do so. Chase, a high school football star, is the protagonist of Restart. Chase’s memory was wiped clean along with the rest of his body.
His memory of the fall is hazy, and he doesn’t recall hitting his head. In fact, when Chase wakes up in the hospital, he has no recollection of what happened. There are people who are willing to assist him, as well as others who are ready to remind Chase of the things he doesn’t want to remember, such as how he was a bully to other kids.
Adults of all ages will enjoy Restart. This novel examines the insecurities we all feel in our daily lives, as well as the question, “What would you do if you had a clean slate?”
Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry
In books like Out of My Mind, historical fiction is used to its full potential.
Taking place in 1943, Number the Stars tells the story of ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend, Ellen Rosen, who live in Copenhagen. When the Nazis forcibly relocate Jews to Denmark, Ellen has recently moved in with the Johansen family, pretending to be one of the Johansens.
With each other’s help, they get through school, food shortages, and life under Nazi rule. Annmarie is then tasked with a hazardous mission to help save Ellen’s life, which she gladly accepts.
Middle-grade readers will enjoy this story as they begin to learn about history and consider whether or not they would be willing to risk their own safety to help someone who was unable to defend themselves.
Do you enjoy the works of Lois Lowry? For more books like Number the Stars, take a look at our selection!
Fish in a Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Ally is illiterate. Unfortunately for the administration, Ally has managed to deceive them all into believing that she is just another troublemaker in the school. Before Mr. Daniels, Ally’s new teacher, can notice her creativity and fear, she’s convinced she’s got it all figured out.
Ally gains a new perspective on dyslexia as a result of his guidance. Readers of all ages can benefit from reading books like Out of My Mind, which show how diverse and intelligent we all are.
In the beginning of Fish in a Tree, Ally feels stupid, and her experiences will resonate with anyone who has dyslexia. It’s my hope that it has the same effect on you.
Rules, by Cynthia Lord
As we all continue to learn, grow, and understand each other, books like Out of My Mind are a welcomed necessity. Rules will strike a chord with anyone who has lived with an autistic person and experienced the ups and downs that such a relationship entails.
Catherine merely desires a routine existence. Her entire family and home life revolves around her younger brother, David. She’s been doing everything she can to help her parents teach David the fundamentals of life. There is no limit to what you can talk about here, from why you should keep your pants on in public to the difference between an apple and a peach.
Catherine simply wants David to stop his embarrassing antics. A paraplegic boy named Jason and Kristi, a friend she’s always desired, change everything. It doesn’t take long for Catherine to begin to doubt her entire worldview and begin to wonder if she can ever be considered normal after all.
Those interested in learning more about the autistic spectrum should give this book as a gift.
Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Grief is difficult for any child, but it’s especially difficult for those under the age of six. Willow, who is twelve, finds it nearly earth-shattering.
She’s never had much luck making friends outside of her adoptive family. Willow, a nature-lover and pint-sized genius, begins to deal with her grief in unexpected and joyful ways.
Books like Out of My Mind and Counting by 7s will have you reaching for the tissues, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
In times of uncertainty, Willow can’t even rely on counting 7s, which she has always relied on to maintain her sense of balance, direction, and meaning. You can’t help but root for Willow as she uses her razor-sharp intellect to put the pieces back together and find new ways to deal with life’s difficulties.