Friday, October 9, 2015

CIS Parent Book Club - Final Week

Image result for airplane

Welcome to the last week of the Out of My Mind Parent Book Club blog discussion!  Thank you so much to those who have been participating in the conversations.  This week we are finishing up the book (chapters 21-33).  As with the previous weeks, choose one, several, or all of the questions to think about and comment on, replying to others' comments as well.

Also, feel free to go back to previous blog posts and join in on the conversations!

The face-to-face Parent Book Club will be at Columbia Intermediate on Monday, October 26th at 7:00 in the cafe. Your fifth grade children are welcome to join us.  Bring your books and be ready to talk about this fabulous story!

Let the final discussions begin...

1.  Connor always makes our students laugh.  Describe Connor.  Who is your favorite of the kids in book besides Melody?  Why?

2.  Do you think Mr. Dimming redeems himself in chapter 21 when he says, "'I regret I underestimated her, and I'm glad to have her on our team'"?

3.  Melody is excited to be on the team, but she still has reservations.  What are some of the things that still separate her from the others?  

4.  In chapter 23, Paul, the stage manager, has special accommodations made for Melody.  Why was he able to set things up for her so perfectly?  Empathy is sometimes developed when we have experienced something difficult.  What are your thoughts on that?

5.  Chapter 25 stirs up a lot of indignation in students when they hear what Claire says about her relationship with Melody.  What do you think Claire's motivations are?  What do you think her background story is?

6.  Melody is concerned when the newspaper features just her in the picture.  Even though her family is proud, the other team members react just as Melody expected.  Do you think they're justified in their feelings?  Why or why not?

7.  Chapter 28 is arguably the most heartbreaking part of the book.  WHY did Sharon Draper choose this plot twist?!  Explain why you think she made this happen in the story.  How did it make you feel?

8.  Mr. Dimming tries to explain what happened in chapter 29 to Melody's mother, and then in 32, the whole team tries to make it up to her by giving her the ninth-place trophy.  As a parent, how would you have handled the situation?  Do you think the team and Mr. Dimming were justified in their actions?  Why or why not?  Describe how Melody handles it.  

9.  Chapter 30 brings another traumatic event into Melody's family's lives.  What was the accident a result of?  What scene foreshadowed this event earlier in the book?

10.  Mrs. V and Melody argue about "normal" in chapter 31.  What are your thoughts on "normal"?

11.  Have you ever felt like Melody when she says, "It's like somebody gave me a puzzle, but I don't have the box with the picture on it.  So I don't know what the final thing is supposed to look like.  I'm not even sure if I have all the pieces"?  Explain.

12.  Do you think Rose changed throughout the story?  Explain.

13.  Students aren't always happy about how the book concludes.  Things are not exactly "tied up in a neat bow".  What are your thoughts on the way the book ends?

14.  Any final thoughts on Out of My Mind?  Your impressions of the novel as a whole?  We read this book as part of a Diversity/Empathy unit in 5th grade.  How do think it represents those theme topics?

15.  Please include any feedback on the blog portion of our Parent Book Club.

Thanks again for participating in the blog portion of our 1st ever CIS Parent Book Club!  We look forward to seeing you on October 26th if you are able to attend!


  1. Kirk Knollman (Kayley's dad)October 9, 2015 at 4:56 PM

    9 How heartbreaking! The snowball effect of airports ! I felt something would happen after her dad smashed his hand in the airport wall ! The rain, the open window, Melody forgetting--and Penny running out past 1 arm dad-- this was almost too much to read. Eerie similarities to the goldfish incident--with the terror or not being able to tell her mother to totally stop. Could have been much much worse--and I think Sharon played with us a little bit with the hospital phone call to Mrs. V.....Hoped for much happier things, and even a tour of the White House !

  2. Kirk Knollman (Kayley's dad)October 15, 2015 at 11:18 AM

    7. Why did Sharon Draper use this plot twist ?? As a parent, I heard these words "well, Dad, did they all make it to the contest? Did they win, tour the White House & get the big trophy??"
    What do you say to that, other than "well, keep going--it may not be what you expect". Cold dose of reality in 5th grade? Makes me wonder if this isn't slightly harsher than it should be--especially with our students mastering 5 years at KME then going to a new "campus", like college. Yes, we are unique--but this situation is soon to get worse in the coming pages and honestly the Penny severity doesn't seem very realistic. Why are we nearly thrown toward a tragic death situation yet Sharon spins that into a happy ending?

  3. 7. Heartbreaking is a good word for this chapter. It is hard to believe that the other kids, their parents, and Mr. Dimming would do this to Melody. After I picked up my chin up off the couch after reading this, I only wanted to assume they didn't have enough time to call her. I found myself trying to come up with excuses for them.

    8. You never wish for kids to lose, but in this case you are glad they didn't win. But then to take a ninth place trophy and try to make it a gift. You see this kind of thing in sports all the time, but in academics you would hope this is not the case. You would hope the person leading the club, Mr. Dimming, would not have handled the situation like he did. Melody needs a win so badly. I think in the end, her Medi-Talker speaks louder than any child who has had their voice all along.

    14. The book represents the theme wonderfully. What a perfect theme for these 5th graders to have right at the beginning of a new school, with new friends, and a bigger world to navigate through.

  4. Admittedly I got behind in my reading, but I just finished and wanted to read the comments here. I'm still reeling from the two events that occur late in the story.

    7. I was in disbelief when Melody's teammates left her. I thought surely the author would find some way to give Melody her moment of glory...delay the entire competition, meet a Good Samaritan who also happens to be a private pilot, ANYTHING! I wanted those characters to redeem themselves, and I feel disappointed that they didn't in my opinion. Perhaps Sharon Draper chooses this plot twist because it's probably closer to reality than we'd like to admit. If I picture myself in the shoes of the teammates, I can ALMOST understand their hesitation to include Melody in breakfast, as well as the quick decision to board the plane. It is clear that the characters do not consider how Melody will feel about this. I love how Melody ultimately handles this. She decides not to be a victim, attends school proudly, and tells them they deserve their ninth place trophy. Love it!

    9. After reading about Penny's accident, I had to call my fifth grader into the room. I believe my exact thoughts were, "What is wrong with this author?" My daughter assured me that I should keep reading. Although Melody's mother is tired, has a headache, and has been through a great deal, I was still frustrated that she did not listen to Melody. By now she knows that Melody does not "tornado" for no good reason.

    13. I really wanted a Hollywood happy ending, but I do appreciate how the book ends. It was an interesting moment to realize that the book I had just finished reading was Melody's autobiography project. Again, while we want a happy ending, that's not always reality. Perhaps if the author had given it to us, we wouldn't think as deeply about Melody's situation. It's the type of ending that might stick with us a little longer and make us more compassionate, empathetic individuals.