Thursday, March 7, 2013

'One Book, One Library' @ DPPL

You may have seen these type of events before; there was 'One Book, One City' in Chicago last year, and 'One Book, One State' a few years back in Illinois, but the library staff participated in a 'One Book, One Library' event this past week at our all staff meeting.  As part of our mission to serve you better, we have spent the last year discussing how to help patrons throughout the library who may or may not have special needs.

On Wednesday, we had a book discussion focused on the children's book Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  This book has been nominated for several awards this year and we thought it was important enough to have every employee in the library read it.  

I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the book, and this is my opinion:

I come from a family that includes children with special needs. I have a severely autistic cousin who, although he can communicate through the very few words he uses, barely speaks at all. At family parties, I sometimes look over at him and wonder what he is thinking. I realize that this particular communication issue is probably more emotional for me because of my familiar connection, but I think anyone who has ever interacted with a special needs child would find the book Out of My Mind interesting.

Melody, a wheel-chair bound child diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, can't speak. It isn't that she doesn't have the brain function to speak, it is that her muscles can't move her lips, mouth, and jaw enough to form sounds and words. That doesn't stop her synesthetic and photographic brain from absorbing everything she encounters.

With the help of a computer into which she types she finally can speak for herself and people begin to realize just how smart she is. The trouble is convincing people to take her seriously and include her, especially for the things that make her 'special'.

I am not sure if it is the fact that I wonder what my cousin would say if he could or the fact that the book is written from Melody's point of view, giving us the insight to understand her frustration, but the book is so well written that I couldn't put it down. Even now, months after I first read the book, I sit and wonder how much of what Melody was thinking is what my cousin thinks. Each time I consider this, I tear up.

This is a wonderful book, one which I encourage all people to read. Much like how The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime allowed people to understand the world through the mind of someone who has Autism, this book allows people to experience the life of someone trapped by the limitations of their body. I think it could go a long way to bringing understanding to those who encounter people of all ages with special needs in their daily lives.

I encourage you to read through this fascinating book with your family, hold a book discussion, or give it as a gift.  This really is a wonderful book and not one to be missed.  We want you to be a part of our DPPL family.  Stop by and talk with any staff member about the book if you have read it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.