For Kids and Adults
Melody, the huge-hearted heroine of Out of My Mind, is a year older, and a year braver. And now, with her Medi-talker, she feels nothing’s out of her reach, not even summer camp. There have to be camps for differently-abled kids like her, and Melody’s going to sleuth one out. A place where she can trek through a forest, fly on a zip line, and even ride on a horse! A place where maybe she really can finally make a real friend, make her own decisions, and even do things on her own—the dream!
By the light of flickering campfires and the power of thunderstorms, through the terror of unexpected creatures in cabins, and the first sparkle of a crush, Melody’s about to discover how brave and strong she really is.
I was surprised and thrilled when I found out that Sharon M. Draper was writing a sequel to ‘Out of My Mind,’ the first book I ever reviewed. After an eleven-year gap between books, MELODY IS BACK!
I don’t read many camp-based stories because most of them have the same storyline. The main character goes to camp, makes friends, goes swimming, goes hiking, has a little camp romance, you get the idea. This story stands out because it’s told from the perspective of a differently-abled kid, someone who wouldn’t be able to go to a typical summer camp.
The camp Melody finds, Camp Green Glades, sounds terrific. I loved learning about how a camp designed specifically for differently-abled people is organized. Each camper gets a counselor, properly trained to work with differently-abled kids. The latrines have huge stalls with super-supportive toilet seats. They even had a playground with a wheelchair swing. I had a hard time picturing what that would look like, so I searched on YouTube, and I found a few good videos:
Wheelchair Swing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Jb6MeV0iew
Boy In Wheelchair’s First Ever Swing Ride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHRddXH6AEQ
I’m really proud of Melody for wanting to go to camp. At her age, I would never have gone to camp of my own free will. I had to go to camp for a school thing back in fourth grade, and it was awful. The food was inedible, and I was freezing the whole time. I have no idea how I survived two days there without having a meltdown.
It was wonderful to read about Melody participating in camp activities like any other kid. I love how she describes all her experiences, from swimming for the first time to riding on a pontoon boat.
With Melody’s three cabinmates, their personal counselors, and even more campers and counselors, I had to make a list of all their names to keep them all in order.
While reading Melody’s story, I kept thinking about how I’d love to have a character like her interact with my own original book characters, Maddie and Albert. I can see Albert and Melody discussing books and trivia facts and Maddie coming up with ways to include Melody in their imagination adventures.
Sharon M. Draper did a ton of research to make this story as authentic as possible. I hope if she does write another book about Melody, we won’t have to wait another eleven years to read it.