Essay Winner: Anna Hibbard

The impact from others that impact those who are different

By Anna Hibbard
Waterford School
Grade 8
Cottonwood Heights, UT


A lot of characters in the book, Out of My Mind, impacted Melody (the girl who couldn’t talk or walk and couldn’t express her true feelings) in great ways but also in bad ways.

A specific character who really impacted Melody’s life in a great way was Mrs. V, a wonderful woman who lives next door to Melody and helps her in many ways. She impacts Melody’s life very deeply. Everyone else really didn’t understand Melody and assumed she didn’t know anything but Mrs.V knew that she was actually a really smart girl and had great potential to do something big. Mrs. V could see right into Melody and understand what she was so desperately trying to say. An example of this was when Melody wanted to have a machine like Rose’s laptop to help her communicate exactly what she needed to say. This type of machine could also provide her with a list of many phrases to communicate instead of only the few words she usually had listed on her board that she had to point to in order to communicate. One day when Melody got home from school, she went over to Mrs.V’s house and tried to explain that she wanted a machine like the one she had seen with Rose. This was very difficult to explain since the board she used to communicate with had so few words to choose from. But Mrs.V knew exactly what Melody wanted and ordered the machine right away. This machine helped Melody tremendously and it was all thanks to Mrs. V! Mrs. V was a wonderful woman and helped her with so much more than obtaining such a useful and needed machine. Melody was very grateful for everything Mrs.V did for her.

Not all of the people Melody came in contact with had a positive impact on her life. In fact, two particular girls in her grade had a very negative impact on her life. These girls always made fun of her, as well as the other kids that had disabilities. They said demeaning things and were mean to a nice girl named, Rose, who was also in Melody’s grade. They were mean to Rose because she was a friend to Melody and was very nice to her. Rose made a positive impact on Melody’s life because she made Melody feel like she mattered and made her feel like a normal human being and treated her as an equal.

Melody’s Mom is the one person who positively impacted Melody’s life the most. She never gave up on her and from the time she was born, knew she was brilliant and super smart but was just unable to show it. She supported Melody in making sure she received the best education possible. One year, Melody had a teacher who treated the kids like they were babies. Melody’s Mom worked with this teacher to get things changed for the better.

I found this book to be amazing and inspiring. It showed that simple acts can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. For example, just a simple act of a person sitting next to someone with a disability and just taking the time to talk with them can make them feel so good inside. Making others feel like they matter can have a huge positive impact!