Melody Brooks

A ten-year-old girl in the fifth grade, the protagonist and narrator of the book. Melody is smart and has a photographic memory, but she has cerebral palsy and cannot walk or speak. She is frequently frustrated by her limitations and wishes she could do the same things as other kids.


Melody’s mother, a nurse and devoted caregiver. Mom believes in Melody and feels empathy for her daughter’s troubles. With her family members, she is affectionate and emotional, but she responds fiercely when people mistreat Melody. Although she and Melody’s father sometimes argue because of the stress of their lives, they have a strong and happy marriage.


Melody’s father. He is a loving and devoted father who records every milestone in his children’s lives with a video camera. 

Mrs. V

A neighbor who cares for Melody after school. Mrs. Violet Valencia, nicknamed “Mrs. V,” is very tall and dresses in bright colors. She has a forceful personality and a strong belief in Melody’s ability to learn and accomplish new things.


Melody’s little sister, an able-bodied toddler. Penny is energetic and mischievous. She loves riding in cars and is dubbed “an escape artist” by her family.


Melody’s classmate and Whiz Kids teammate. Though Melody feels closer to Rose than to any other kid her own age, Rose is not always reliable as a friend.

Mr. Dimming

The history teacher and coach of the Whiz Kids quiz team. 


A college student and Melody’s school aide. She is upbeat and positive and is always on Melody’s side.

Mrs. Gordon

Melody’s fifth grade English teacher. Mrs. Gordon is an understanding, positive, and encouraging figure to Melody.


Melody’s dog. Butterscotch is protective of Melody and seeks help when she needs it. 


A fifth-grade girl and member of the Whiz Kids quiz team. Claire is intolerant and cruel about Melody’s disability.


Claire’s best friend and member of the Whiz Kids quiz team. Molly is rude to Melody and makes fun of her. 


A classmate of Melody’s in special ed. Ashley is tiny and beautiful with long hair and coordinating outfits. 


A classmate of Melody’s in special ed. Maria is very affectionate and caring towards others. She has Down Syndrome.


A classmate of Melody’s in special ed who loves airplanes.

Dr. Hugely

A doctor who does a poor job of evaluating Melody’s abilities. 

Mrs. Tracy

Melody’s kind and helpful second grade teacher. 

Mrs. Billups

Melody’s narrow-minded third grade teacher. 

Mrs. Shannon

Melody’s encouraging fifth grade special ed teacher.