‘Out of My Heart’ Is on My Mind

Reading Out of My Heart

PHOTO | Maddie VanderKooi

After 11 long years, Sharon M. Draper finally wrote a sequel to my favorite book. I thought there was no way that I could love the sequel as much as the first, but I did. Out of My Heart is another book I cannot put down until I read the whole thing. 

Out of My Mind”  is the first in the sequel. It is a story of a girl born with cerebral palsy. Even though Melody Brooks couldn’t walk or talk, she had a lot of things to say. 

In Out of My Mind, Melody faces the struggles of dealing with bullies at school and getting left behind by classmates.  In Out of My Heart,Melody is a year older, and a year braver. Melody is faced with the chance to face her fears and follow her passions. 

Out of My Heartshows the struggles that she faces but now she is facing them at summer camp with other kids like her. This is the first time Melody gets to things she never thought she could do. 

Through the first book, Melody is talking about how she wants friends. In Out of My Heart, Melody finally gets those friends. Friends that don’t look at her differently because she is in a wheelchair. Friends who understand the struggles that she has faced because they all faced similar struggles too. 

“In our schools, most of us are considered misfits. We are often ignored, mistreated, teased, or overlooked. Each of us struggles with something-physical, emotional, mental-that makes us just a little different from others. Sometimes a lot different,” Melody thought. “But here, we were awesome, we were noble, we were able, and we were cool!”

Just because someone has struggles like Melody and her friends, doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be included like every other “normal” kid. They should be able to get the opportunities to experience the fun of summer camp just like any other twelve-year-old. 

Special needs, I was thinking. I don’t like that term. It sounds so… so… vague. It’s like people without special needs decided that if they made the term vague enough, it wouldn’t hurt anybody’s feelings. But when you’re the person the term is being used for, it makes you feel less than yourself,” thought Melody. “It makes me feel less that myself. Yeah, I’m special. And yes, I have needs. But don’t make that my label.”

I was not sure how Sharon Draper was going to continue my love for Out of My Mind”  into a second book. Out of My Heart”  doesn’t show Melody facing her struggles with cerebral palsy. It shows her facing the struggles of being a preteen. 

Out of My Heart is a middle level book, but I think it is a book for people of all ages.