Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

10 Jul

Ten-year-old Caitlin has plenty to deal with. Her older brother, Devin, was recently killed in a school shooting, her widowed father is nearly non-functional with grief—and to top it off, she has aspergers syndrome.  Devin had always explained things to her, but now she is left to figure thing out without him. Along with her trusty dictionary and a compassionate school counselor, she struggles to find closure, understand empathy and make her first friend.

Narrated by Caitlin, with all her quirks and misunderstanding of idioms, language and social situations, the book unfolds as Caitlin struggles to understand the world she finds herself in, with unintentional wit and poignant insight. In the end, Caitlin finds closure not only for herself, but leads her father, friends and community toward healing.

Caitlin and Devin both loved the movie To Kill a Mockingbird adapted from the book by Harper Lee.  Devin had nicknamed her “Scout,” after the main character because both girls were very honest, straightforward and had unusual understanding into people and situations. Throughout the book, comparisons and references are made to the movie and its lessons on empathy.

This book is geared toward students who are ages 9 to 12 and will resonate with children who are on the spectrum. It will also help typical students to understand children who think differently.  Older students will enjoy pairing Mockingbird with reading or discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  For parents and teachers, Caitlin’s clear voice will help them understand the logical, literal and deliberate thought processes typical in many children who are on the autism spectrum.  All those who read purely for pleasure will find an enjoyable book with an endearing character and thought-provoking themes.


3 Responses to “Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine”

  1. kathyerskine July 12, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    Thanks for this lovely review! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and saw all the references to To Kill a Mockingbird (one of my all time favorites).



  1. Mental Disorders 101 - July 10, 2010

    Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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