ISBN-10: 0142417750
ISBN-13: 9780142417751
Author: Erskine, Kathryn
Interest Level: 5-8
Publisher: Penguin Random House

Publication Date: February 2011

Copyright: 2010

Page Count: 256

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Interest Level

Grades 5-8

Reading Level

Guided Reading: W
Lexile: 630L
Accelerated Reader Level: 3.6
Accelerated Reader Points: 5.0

BISAC Subjects

JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Death & Dying

JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Parents

Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger's Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.
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Shannon Keller, Regional Accounts

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8/10/2011 11:21:52 AM
Kathryn Erskine did not have to go far when researching her latest book, Mockingbird. She knew firsthand what it was like to experience a tragedy as powerful as the shootings at Virginia Tech, as they happened in her own Virginia community. As a mother of two, she started to think about how difficult the situation would be for families with special needs children. This led her to explore the world of autism, particularly Aspergers syndrome..

In Mockingbird, Erskine describes the turmoil experienced after a middle school shooting through the perspective of Caitlin, a ten-year-old with Aspergers syndrome. Erskine details the grieving process of the community, the families in the community, and the individuals most affected by the shooting, particularly Cailtin and her father. . Caitlin lost her brother, Devon, in the shooting. Devon was the only person who she could communicate with about her feelings, and he gave her advice about how to survive fifth grade. As Caitlin struggles with losing her brother, getting her and her father back on track, and learning to live with Aspergers, she discovers closure, empathy, and unexpected friendships along the way. Not to mention, a little characteristic called finesse!

Mockingbird demonstrates what it means to be comfortable in your own skin, while accepting others in theirs. From grieving to friendships to belonging and accepting, there is something that every reader can relate to. Erskine’s distinctive writing style cannot be overlooked, either. Whether it is her use of Capitals, italics, or her unique use of dialogue, her writing style makes a lasting impression on the reader and offers insight about the narrator. Mockingbird is the winner of the 2010 National Book Award and is great for students in late elementary through middle school.