We have discovered another excellent book for upper primary students, as good as Wonder (high praise indeed!). Wonder is the story of a boy with a facial disfigurement; this is the story of a 11-year old girl with cerebral palsy. Melody is confined to a wheelchair, unable to move her body with precision (except her thumbs), and unable to talk. While a very intelligent girl with a photographic memory, no-one except close friends and family have ever seen past her disability to acknowledge what her mind contains. That is, until she gets a talking computer which all of a sudden challenges school friends, teachers and others to realise that just because someone’s body is limited is does not mean their mind is. There are also two big twists in the story which left us both completely surprised and very keen to read on.
I read this to my 11 year old son and he loved it. It is more serious than Wonder (although that has very serious parts, it is also very funny). In some ways the pain for Melody is more raw, I struggled to read numerous sections through my tears, although my son is used to that now!
This should also be on all school reading lists, it would provide excellent material for discussion amongst upper primary and also high school students about both the realities of living with a disability, and how people can be unkind and thoughtless as they make incorrect assumptions.