Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Out of my mind, Sharon Draper

Can you imagine being trapped in your own head.  You have feelings, thoughts, experiences and you can't share them with anyone.  Melody deals with that every day of her life.  She has Cerebral Palsy and cannot walk, eat, dress herself, or talk....and never will.  When people look at her (when they bother to look), they think she is stupid.  How can she know anything- since she is drooling, moaning, and flailing about.  They can't see that she capable of feelings as complex as our own.  Sharon Draper writes a beautiful tale that is so moving that it will change the way you interact with people in wheelchairs.  Melody shows us that there is more inside them than they can get out.  I promise this book will change your life. 

People often ask me, "What was your inspiration for Out of my Mind?" I reply, "All great stories emerge from deep truths that rest within us." But the real truth of a story often can be found in places that not even the author has dared to explore. I suppose the character of Melody came from my experiences in raising a child with developmental difficulties. But Melody is not my daughter. Melody is pure fiction--a unique little girl who has come into being from a mixture of love and understanding. Out of my Mind is the story of a ten-year-old-girl who cannot walk or talk. She has spirit, determination, intelligence and wit, and no one knows it. But from buildings that are not wheelchair--accessible to classmates who make fun of her she finds a strength within herself she never knew existed.

I was fiercely adamant that nobody feel sorry for Melody. I wanted her to be accepted as a character and as a person, not as a representative for people with disabilities. 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!

--Sharon M. Draper 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Storm Runners, by Roland Smith

lexile leve: 700
   I found myself on quite a rollercoaster of a ride when I read Roland Smith's Storm Runners.  Chase Masters and his father have an unusual life.  After weathering some tough storms in their lives, Chase's dad moves him away from everything that was familiar.  John Masters now runs after storms, the big ones, to help people clean up after them.  Yet, Fate step in when John Masters miscalculates hurricane Emily.  Follow Chase to see how he rides out the storm. 

The Surge, book 2 is an excellent sequel!  I was on the edge the whole time.   Chase is still battling a hurricane beating the coast of Florida, but now he is also fighting with escaped circus animals.  Not your average problem; especially when you are only a teenager!  Chase's father is still braving a hurricane to try to get to his son, before something awful happens to them.  Come join the adventure!