Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Book Information
Erskine, Kathryn. Mockingbird. New York: Philomel Books, 2010.

Book Summary

Caitlin loves reading and drawing. In Caitlin's opinion, books and pencil sketches are black-and-white, clear, and easy to understand. Especially when you compare them with the challenges of making and keeping friends at school.

After her brother dies, Caitlin's world changes. She looks up the word "closure" in a dictionary, and decides that she should find it for her and her father. But since she is only ten, and she has Asperger's, finding closure is not easy. Her search takes many funny missteps that add colour to her world, transforming her from outsider to friend and "big sister".

My Review

Mockingbird is a children's novel that works well on many levels. First, the author's writing style is clear and funny throughout the book. Erskine tackles difficult issues using simple vocabulary and short sentences. She plays with words, exploring their different meanings, and capitalizes some of them for special emphasis. For example, when Caitlin is confused, she often doesn't "Get It".

The title of the book comes from the movie To Kill a Mockingbird, which Caitlin discusses many times. Caitlin's brother is the obvious "mockingbird", as he was young and innocent at the time of his death. Caitlin is a less obvious "mockingbird", since she loses some of her innocence, and matures into a more outgoing girl. 

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