Book Review: Mockingbird

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Written by Kathryn Erskine
Published: 2010 by Philomel
 224 pages
Ages: 10 & up
Topics: Asperger’s syndrome, school shooting, death, social situations

Caitlin is a fifth grader who prefers her world in black and white where the colors don’t blend, so it’s not confusing in a world already difficult to understand. Caitlin has Asperger’s syndrome, which is similar to autism. She has difficulty with social skills and doesn’t make friends easily, for her the perfect school group is working alone. She doesn’t make eye contact and has trouble identifying facial expressions. When she becomes anxious in a social situation she often sucks on her shirt or fidgets with her hands. She meets with the school counselor who teaches her social skills and the importance to make friends to get ready for middle school next year. Caitlin also visits the school counselor to manage her brother Devon’s recent death. The brother died in a school shooting that occurred in a small community. Caitlin doesn’t understand exactly why her brother died and searches in her dictionary to learn about the heart. Finally, Caitlin discovers after reading the word closure that it is exactly what her and her father need to manage Devon’s death.

The book’s title Mockingbird refers to how her brother loved the film To Kill a Mockingbird and he often called Caitlin Scout. Caitlin often states that her own dad is similar to Atticus. I had difficulty putting an age frame on Mockingbird, since the topic is complex and sensitive. The book only refers to the shooting from Caitlin’s perspective as The Day Our Life Fell Apart and doesn’t get graphic or discuss any details. The book focuses more upon Caitlin’s daily struggles to adjust into a colorful world, but still being herself. Mockingbird won a YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Best Fiction Award in 2011. It also won a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2010.

Caitlin, Dad says. The whole town is upset by what happened. They want to help.
     They want to be with you. Talk to you. Take you places.
     I don’t want to be with them or talk to them or go places with them.
     He sighs. They want to help you deal with life, Caitlin…without Devon. 


     I don’t know what this means but the people come to our house. I wish I could hide in Devon’s room but I’m not allowed in there now. Not since The Day Our Life Fell Apart…


– Kathryn Erskine (Mockingbird, pages 10-11)

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Mockingbird

    Michelle said:
    January 13, 2012 at 4:02 am

    This one looks familiar. 🙂 I really liked this one too.

    Caroline responded:
    January 13, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I thought it was a good book that showed a new perspective on difficult issues. I enjoyed the book. Happy reading! 🙂

    thiskidreviewsbooks said:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:23 am

    I thought this book was pretty good. It was a good way to learn how some people think differently than others and I’m happy I read it. It was a bit sad learning about how her brother died but it was nice that it wasn’t really graphic. Nice review!

      Caroline responded:
      January 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm

      Yes, it was a terrible way that the brother died. I think it was a good book that highlights a view you may not understand the first time. I’m glad you enjoyed my review. Thanks for stopping by.

    Book Review: “Mockingbird” | The Cheap Reader said:
    October 17, 2014 at 5:33 am

    […] Book Review: Mockingbird […]

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