I picked up Sharon Draper’s “Out of My Mind” after signing up my class for the Global Read Aloud 2013. It is a brilliantly written novel intended for young adult readers. However, it is really a story of triumph and fortitude that will inspire many to pick up this book to read. It is 1 of 3 books to choose to read with your class after signing up to part of the Global Read Aloud. It is an event I learned about in 2012 when connecting with Pernille Ripp … @pernilleripp on twitter. I highly recommend connecting with her. She is a grade 5 teacher, and the driving force behind the Global Read Aloud and is a thoughtful contributor to the community of learners on twitter and via blogging. Pernille is an inspiration to many of us who are seeking global connections to talk about books and issues that affect the lives of the students in our classrooms. The Global Read Aloud will take place for a period of 6 weeks starting September 2013. I am excited beyond words to share this book with my students and have them share their views with connections we make with other students reading the same book.
I don’t want to spoil this book too much for others, but what I will say is that I will see our world in a different way moving into the future. This book challenges our belief systems about what we thought we knew about members of our society who struggle with a variety of disabilities. The following quote rang loudly through my mind as I laughed, cried, hoped, and debated while eagerly turning each page:
Although Melody, the main character in “Out of My Mind” never walked in shoes I think you get the message I am trying to convey. Attempting to understand all our student voices and how their stories gel together is one of greatest responsibilities a teacher has when building a trusting community of learners in a classroom. Starting with this book in September 2013, I am flooded with ideas (field trips, in class visitors, shared videos, Genius Hour action projects, blogging, and skype chats) that will spark discussions, inspire actions, and help build a community of students in my classroom and the world who are agents of hope for everyone.
I hope you join the Global Read Aloud this year, and the inspiring conversations that will be sparked around the world from students eager to gain a greater understanding and be the change in their communities.