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Author Archive: "Sharon Draper"

Words, Music, Dreams

Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes — each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands. Words were like sweet, liquid gifts, and I drank them like lemonade. I could almost taste them.

So speaks eleven-year-old Melody, whose very name sounds like a song. Melody's fiercely independent spirit, forever frustrated by her totally dependent body, uses words like weapons to fight her daily battles.

In my newest novel, Out of My Mind, I have created a character who speaks for all of us, even though she cannot say a word. Melody has cerebral palsy, but she dares anyone to feel sorry for her. She understands her limitations, yet strives each day to reach beyond those limits. She can't walk, can't talk, can't even go to the bathroom by herself. Yet she has a brilliant mind, a photographic memory, and dreams and desires of any child her age.

Throughout the novel, I tried to show the power of language, and the deep, rhythmic heartbeat of words in our lives. Everybody uses words to express themselves. Except me. And I bet most people don't realize the real power of words. But I do. Thoughts need words. Words need a voice. I love the smell of my mother's hair and the feel of the scratchy stubble on my father's face. But I've never been able to tell them.


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