Chapters 25, 26 and 27

Chapter 25 begins with the continuation of the championship round of the quiz competition. Melody’s team wins and gets to go to Washington DC. She is very excited. Her biggest thought at the time is that maybe by proving how smart she is, more kids at school will talk to her. It makes me think about the “special ed” students at my school. Do they think that they need to prove themselves to be recognized? While Melody can’t blend in due to her obvious physical differences, she often must feel like she’s invisible. How often in our own lives, do we turn the other way when someone looks different than the “norm” ? Do we write them off as not intelligent due to the way they look or talk?

                In chapter 26, the team decides to go to a restaurant to celebrate. The first obstacle that Melody and her mom run into is that the restaurant is not wheelchair accessible (except for broken elevator). Then came the food. Melody did not know how the other students would react when they saw her being fed by her mom. Even though Melody had been fed her whole life, she was embarrassed now because it singled her out.

                Chapter 27 opens with Melody’s mom showing the picture of her in the newspaper following the competition. Instead of being excited, Melody is not happy. The article does talk about her being an outstanding member of the team, but also mentions her cerebral palsy. Melody thinks that her teammates will hate her because the article focuses on her. Melody is probably wondering if she is specifically mentioned and photographed because of her disabilities and not her abilities. This is a stark reminder that we should focus on what a person can do and not what they can’t.

–Kathleen Russell

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3 thoughts on “Chapters 25, 26 and 27

  1. Lindsey Ludwig says:

    These chapters make me so sad that Melody didn’t get the opportunity to participate in inclusion classes until 5th grade. I feel like, had she-and her peers-been afforded that opportunity much sooner, they wouldn’t be treating many of these situations as awkward. I wish her mom had been more outspoken during the restaurant interaction. I also wish someone would’ve stood up to Claire. Her bullying and outright lying infuriates me and if I were Mr. Dimming and witnessed her interactions, then outright lies during the televised interview, I would feel compelled to dismiss her from the team. Bullying should 100% not be tolerated, and this being swept under the rug is inexcusable.

  2. Karen Reynolds says:

    Lindsey, I completely agree. I have asked myself that several times while reading this book. I couldn’t not believe that Claire down right lied about being Melody’s best friend. Again, here was another opportunity to participate in normal kid activities like going out to eat, with Melody having to worry about being fed. It was telling when Melody’s mom found the wheelchair lift to be broken. I wonder how often this happens in real life. I’ll bet more than you’d think. I have a neighbor with Spina Bifida who uses a wheelchair. She often can hardly roll herself down to the pool as cars are parked in driveways blocking her way. People who don’t have family members with special needs have no idea how difficult it can be when there is no handicapped accessibility.

  3. Jecel Goyala says:

    Melody’s support network of her parents, Mrs. V, and Catherine has helped her study hard and memorize answers to many of the questions. She’s able to get most of the questions right because of the studying she’s done, but her synesthesia, a special ability she has, helps her score the winning point and lead her team to victory. In the end, what helps Melody win is that she is different from her teammates. Melody’s cerebral palsy has been a source of tension and anxiety for much of the novel, but here, for the first time, her disability is what makes her unique, and is what makes the reporter interested in her. Claire, who has shunned Melody because her disability makes her different, changes her behavior when she realizes that Melody’s differences can be seen in a positive way, and that by cozying up to Melody she can be in the news, too.

    Melody’s intelligence, and her impressive accomplishment—helping her team win the regional Whiz Kids competition—is recognized by the press, which is why they publish a picture of her. Although members of her team appreciate her help, she immediately feels like an outsider again. In the past, Melody felt like an outsider because her classmates didn’t think she was smart enough. Now, she doesn’t feel like part of the group because she’s gotten too much acknowledgement for her talents.

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