Sunday, July 29, 2012
Middle Grade Reader: Mockingbird (Katherine Erskine)
Summary of Mockingbird (by Kathryn Erskine):
(from School Library Journal)
From inside Caitlin's head, readers see the very personal aftermath of a middle school shooting that took the life of the older brother she adored. Caitlin is a bright fifth grader and a gifted artist. She also has Asperger's syndrome, and her brother, Devon, was the one who helped her interpret the world. Now she has only her father, a widower who is grieving anew and whose ability to relate to his daughter is limited. A compassionate school counselor works with her, trying to teach her the social skills that are so difficult for her. Through her own efforts and her therapy sessions, she begins to come to terms with her loss and makes her first, tentative steps toward friendship.
Mockingbird immediately grabbed me and did not let go until the last page was turned—even then, it still held my heart-strings. I was absolutely fascinated with Caitlin’s thought-processes and the way she saw the world. I laughed—a lot. I was on the verge of tears—many times. The characterization broadened my perspective on people in general, but most specifically, people who have disabilities. Kathryn Erskine has written a novel that maintains that delicate balance of being relevant and engaging for middle graders while also being thought-provoking and timeless for all readers. I, especially, recommend this book for teachers because it humanizes and illuminates those students we often misunderstand. Mockingbird is a book that will not be soon forgotten.
Check out the Marvelous Middle Grade Round Up at Ramblings of a Wanna Be Scribe.