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!
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!
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!