Sharon Draper – Live Interview

Today we were lucky enough to listen in on a live interview with Sharon Draper.  She is the author who wrote Out of My Mind, the book we have been reading as part of the Global Read Aloud.  As it turns out, over 70,000 students all over the world have been listening to the book in their classrooms!   

 Image of Sharon M. Draper

Mrs. Draper  said that she wrote this book because it needed to be written!  It is for anybody who feels or has felt as if they didn’t fit in.  That means that students as young as 3rd grade all the way through adult will find something to relate to in this book.   Some have noticed that characters in the book are not identified with any particular race of people.  Mrs. Draper says that is because she wanted Melody to be universal.  She wanted her situation, her emotions, her courage, and her resilience to be the focus.  As I stated a few sentences ago, it is a story for anybody who has felt as if they didn’t fit in. 

When asked why she ended the story the same way she began it, Mrs. Draper explained that it was her way of showing that things had come full circle.  While it was very effective in this book, Mrs. Draper said that her editor won’t let her use it again.  Readers love variety in storytelling! 

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Out of My Mind took Mrs. Draper two years to write.  In that time she revised it somewhere between 40 and 50 times!  When it was published, she was very pleased to see the cover.  You see, the author never chooses the cover of the book.  The publisher does that.  Mrs. Draper liked the cover a lot because to her the fish in a bowl represents anyone who has felt trapped in their life and has wanted to leap to freedom.  But once you do that, you can’t go back.  Life changes for you at that point. 

One of the last questions asked of her was, “Why did you decide to have Melody be a 5th grader?”  She replied, ” Because 5th grade is cool!”  We couldn’t agree more!

2 thoughts on “Sharon Draper – Live Interview

  1. Hi Mrs.Steven,
    I was wondering what you took out of this book. This book really made an impact on my life. For example, before we read this book I would look at a kid with CP and feel really bad for them because they had a disability. Now I might see a child with CP and see them as a kid just like me. Did this book do anything for you?

    • Hi Zoe,

      I thought this was a great book as well! I loved the way Sharon Draper wrote it so that I could experience what life was like for Melody. There were so many little moments when I was as frustrated as Melody was! There were times when I was angry at the people around her who treated her as if she was not there. I’ll even admit that sometimes I was angry longer than Melody was. For instance, I wouldn’t have wanted to go to school after the airport incident. She was trying to move past it, but I wasn’t ready to!

      This story taught me not to make assumptions about people based on what I see on the outside. It also taught me that sometimes good people make awful mistakes. Rose was a good friend to Melody, but she made a terrible mistake which she regretted very much. Even though Rose was sorry she didn’t call Melody, she couldn’t undo the hurt she caused. Rose couldn’t fix it. It was up to Melody to decide whether or not she was going to hold a grudge. I’m glad Melody reacted the way she did, aren’t you?

      I think this is a book we will refer to and talk about all year long. I’ve already recommended it to several people!

      ~ Mrs. Steven

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