A Monster Calls

A novel by Patrick Ness
Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd
Illustrated by Jim Kay 

The story of a boy whose mother is dying of cancer, its themes of grief, family and truth are powerful and inspiring.

When his mother's treatment begins, so does Conor's nightmare.

It comes to life in the shape of a monster, who wants something that Conor does not know how to give: the truth.

Readers will connect with Conor's fear because it is their own fear. 

His growing understanding of the truth -- thanks in part to the monster, his grandmother and an old friend -- will resonate with all who experience the story. 

From spiteful boy to healed young man, Conor becomes an inspiring character that will have readers of all ages writing their own stories of strength and resilience.

Meet Author Patrick Ness
Wednesday, November 18, 7 p.m.

Smart’s Mill Middle School
850 North King Street, Leesburg, VA

Book sale and signing to follow.

Book discussions

Ashburn Library: Tuesday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m. (Adults)/Thursday Nov. 12, 7 p.m. (Adults)/Monday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m. (Grades 6-8)
Brambleton Community Center: Tuesday, Oct. 20, 6:30 p.m.
Cascades Library:  Monday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m.
Gum Spring Library: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 4:30 p.m. (Grades 6-8)
Lovettsville Library:  Monday, Nov. 16, 1 p.m./Tuesday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m.
Middleburg Library:  Monday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m.
Purcellville Library: Tuesday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m.
Rust Library: Tuesday, Oct. 20, 1:30 p.m./Wednesday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m.
Sterling Library:  Thursday, Nov. 12, 11:15 a.m./Wednesday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m.

A countywide reading program that promotes community dialogue and understanding through the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book.

Sponsored by the Irwin Uran Gift Fund


What would you do if you could not make yourself known, if you had thoughts you could not speak? That is narrator Melody Brooks’ plight: “By the time I was two, all my memories had words, and all my words had meanings. But only in my head,” she writes. “I have never spoken one single word.” Melody’s world is enhanced by insight and intellect, but hindered by physical limitations and misunderstandings. She will never sing or dance, talk on the phone or whisper secrets to her friends. Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind, that is until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice... but not everyone around her is ready to hear it. This is a book that defies age categorization, a story that will enlighten and resonate with all readers.

Out of My Mind
is the story of a ten-year-old-girl who has spirit and determination, intelligence and wit, and no one knows it. How frustrating! Imagine yourself in the same situation. Melody, whose very name sounds like a song, loves words, however. She says, “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.” Melody uses words like weapons to fight her daily battles. 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.” Melody’s voice will soon be heard all over Loudoun County, and I really look forward to sharing her words with all of you, and listening to your words as well.

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper is the selected title this year. This book tells a story that is sure to provoke discussion among readers of all ages. Out of My Mind speaks for those who cannot speak. It reveals the quiet strength and fortitude it takes to overcome disabilities and the misconceptions that go with them. It reminds us of the humanity in us all. It is impossible to close this book without thinking about the world differently. We are grateful to the Irwin Uran Gift Fund which is providing copies of the book to our community.

Copies of Out of My Mind are available at library branches, the County Government Building and through Outreach Services. Whether you share your ideas with your neighbors, or attend one of the many book discussion groups or programs at the library, we are sure you will find the experience to be enlightening and thought-provoking.

We wish to thank the 2014 1book 1community Selection Committee for the time and effort
they dedicated to the project.