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Dear Sharon M. Draper

Nelly A. Brimah
Thurman Francis Arts Academy
4th - 6th Grade

Dear Mrs. Draper,

In this life, everybody has a story to tell or an experience to share that is unique to them. We are all a little different, but in the end, it’s the experiences we go through that make or break us. In just eleven years of my life, I have had quite a few unique experiences, but none has had such a profound effect on my life as my little brother being diagnosed with biliary atresia.

Biliary atresia is a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts that occurs in infants. It’s sad to see my brother go through this. Even though he’s a healthy, active little boy, he sometimes goes to the hospital because his liver can cause him to have fevers. He is always smiling and always happy. The fact that he has biliary atresia doesn’t change the fact that he’s smart. I have been with him from birth to crawling to his first steps to his first word. Nothing that anyone says will change my mind about him.

The day I picked up the book Out of My Mind is the day I will neither regret nor forget. When I first began to read the book, I was unaware that when I finished it, it would be my favorite book. When I was introduced to Melody I felt a spark, a connection. She intrigued me and made me feel happy, and relieved at the same time. Happy because Melody’s determination reminded me of my little brother. Relieved because at least someone knows how it feels to be disabled (in a way). Melody’s mum reminded me of myself a bit. How worried she was when she was told that Melody had cerebral palsy, just like how I was when my mum informed me about my brother’s condition.

Relating someone else’s situation to my brother’s was helpful since I came to realize that my brother is not the only one fighting a battle. Even though Melody’s condition limits her from participating in some things, her perseverance spears me on to pay more attention to the pros, like my brother’s life, zeal, smartness, energy instead of the con – his condition. In the book, Melody is a determined, hard-working girl who deserves the same chance everyone else gets.

When Melody was left out of the Washington, D.C. trip and to make the situation worse, was not informed about the plane cancellation and change of flights, it broke my heart. She had helped take them this far, then they repay her by not informing her about the flight changes, with no regard to her. Even though she was pushed down several times, she believed in herself and got back up. She is like my brother, a fighter, he was in the hospital for weeks and he picked himself up to come back fighting harder every time. Melody did the same thing which is why she reminded me of my brother.

Your book changed my view of the world and taught me not to take things for granted because lots of people are out there striving to survive despite the challenges they face. It taught me that no matter how many times you fall down in life you always have to pick yourself up and fight harder. Most importantly, it impressed on me that any condition we may face only has as much power as you give it. To conclude, this book also taught me to treasure my voice because not everybody has a voice and even when you do, not everybody is read to listen to what you have to say. Thank you for showing me there is more than one way to look at this picture. One way is to look at all the bad things that are, but another way is looking at all the blessing we have, so we should embrace them.