My first book finished this year is Kathryn Erskine‘s MOCKINGBIRD. The story of 5th grader Caitlin, who has Asperger’s syndrome and is dealing with the death of her brother in a school shooting. A resident of Virginia, Erskine was inspired to write this story after the Virginia Tech shootings. The story is emotionally engaging and the plot is tight. There’s not a single word out of place. It’s no wonder Erskine won the National Book Award for this.
It would be impossible to read this book and not look at people differently, valuing all our various quirks and peculiarities. As the mother of a particularly quirky kid, I feel like buying a copy of the book for every teacher in the school. (Except I won’t because that’s expensive!) But you should go out and get your own copy. You won’t regret it.
From the jacket:
In Caitlin’s world, everything is black and white. Anything in between is confusing. that’s the stuff her brother, Devon, always explained. but now Devon is dead, and her father cries a lot. She wants to help her dad–and herself!–but as a ten-year-old girl with Asperger’s syndrome, she doesn’t know how.
She turns to textbooks and dictionaries, easy for Caitlin because they’re full of facts in black and white. After reading the definition of Closure, Caitlin knows this is just what she and her father need. And she is determined to find it. In her search, the discovers that not everything is really black and white–the world is full of colors, messy and beautiful. And perhaps if she “Works At It,” Caitlin and her father can have Closure and Empathy too.
A warm and loving book that gives young readers a rare glimpse of a very special world and a brave and very special girl.