Draper, S. (2010). Out of my mind. New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Melody is a child whose disability keeps her from speaking. And all she has is words to share. This is definitely an eye opener. It's a first-hand look into the world of a quadriplegic. Melody is aching to talk to the world, but when she has an opportunity to do so with a new machine, she's deathly afraid that people may not want to know what she says. This machine opens everyone else's world to experience her thoughts and aspirations. She competes in school and ultimately saves her little sister's life. This is an incredibly touching story and a must read.
Teachers can introduce a graphic novel project for students to do in a group and then do a collaborative learning event with their special education students. Teachers can also help create adapted versions of this novel to present to students in these units as well.
Parents, this is an excellent novel to read with your children. Young readers will be more sensitive to children with special needs and be more conscious of how to treat others in general. It will open a topic of conversation to how any person you come across can make a difference.