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Mockingbird Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 15, 2010

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 630L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books; 1 edition (April 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780399252648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399252648
  • ASIN: 0399252649
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–6—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. Caitlin's thought processes, including her own brand of logic, are made remarkably clear. The longer readers spend in the child's world, the more understandable her entirely literal and dispassionate interpretations are. Marred slightly by the portrayal of Devon as a perfect being, this is nonetheless a valuable book. After getting to know Caitlin, young people's tendencies to label those around them as either "normal" or "weird" will seem as simplistic and inadequate a system as it truly is.—Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Ten-year-old Caitlyn hates recess, with all its noise and chaos, and her kind, patient counselor, Mrs. Brook, helps her to understand the reasons behind her discomfort, while offering advice about how to cope with her Asperger’s Syndrome, make friends, and deal with her grief over her older brother’s death in a recent school shooting. She eschews group projects in class, claiming that she doesn’t need to learn how to get along with others, but solitude is neither good for her or her grieving father, and when Caitlyn hears the term closure, she turns to her one trusty friend, her dictionary, and sets out on a mission to find it for both of them. Along the way, Caitlyn makes many missteps, but eventually she does achieve the long-sought closure with great finesse, which is another of her favorite vocabulary words. Allusions to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, the portrayal of a whole community’s healing process, and the sharp insights into Caitlyn’s behavior enhance this fine addition to the recent group of books with narrators with autism and Asperger's. Grades 4-7. --Cindy Dobrez

Customer Reviews

Caitlin gets some help from Mrs. Brook, a counselor at her school.
I would recommend this book because it is a great book to help you understand about Asperger's syndrome so you can understand more about it.
This book should be a must read for any middle school or high school student.
Brittany Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

134 of 140 people found the following review helpful By Kim B. on April 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am trying as hard as I possibly can to hold back the tears that are welling up in my eyes right now. I have just finished reading this spectacular, extraordinarily touching book, and it has affected me so much I can't believe it. I don't even know why I'm crying.

It's rare that a book like this affects me. Usually when a book states up front that its protagonist is on the autism spectrum, I prepare myself for crying big, hysterical tears, and then... nothing. Books about quirky outsiders, yeah, those get to me. "Stargirl" made my eyes water, "Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree" made me sniffle (happy tears, though), "How to Say Goodbye in Robot" made me weep openly, and I'm not even gonna go into what happened the first time I read "A Corner of the Universe" (okay, that one had a character with some kind of autism in it but I'm letting it slide because it wasn't the protagonist). But stuff like "Marcelo in the Real World" and "Anything But Typical," both of which were highlights of last year for me, leaves me dry-eyed. I strongly disliked "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," so I wasn't surprised that I didn't cry then, but the other two? I felt like a heartless monster, completely unable to empathize with fictional people going through what I do. Then I read "Mockingbird." Whoa. Guess I was wrong.

Okay, what I want to convey to you right now is that the portrayal of Asperger Syndrome here is dead-on. Pitch perfect. All the stereotyped stuff I hoped the book wouldn't lapse into, that I think so many people believe to be fact, was avoided. So much of what Caitlin does and experiences is stuff I did and went through when I was her age. The way she talks. The way she sucks on her sleeves and names gummy worms. Her love of reading.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Francesca on April 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. I read it straight through on the day I brought it home. The author has a lovely "ear" for dialogue, particularly the inner dialogue of a young girl who sees the world through the lens of Aspergers. The themes in the book, however, are rich and varied. This is no "trendy syndrome" book but is a complex and touching story of a family, of the complications of love and death and renewal. I'd give it to parents trying to understand their quirky child, to teachers and counselors. But I'd also give it to any child who wants a great read and a main character who feels real and who you would want as a friend. It brings home the truth that we are all alike in some unfathomable way.

And hey, just so it's clear-the book is also funny, warm, and unflaggingly interesting. And the author has made a connection that I find fascinating and food for thought, but I won't reveal that. It will make me dig out and reread another beloved story. I look forward enthusiastically to more books from the author.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Brittany Moore VINE VOICE on April 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Caitlin has Asperger's Syndrome and she has lost the one person who understood and was helping her "not act so weird". Her brother, Devon, was always helping her by telling her what not to do. When he gets shot in a school shooting though, he is gone from her life forever. Now Caitlin has to find her own way to make friends and find closure, even if she needs a little help from her counselor.

This was a very touching novel. I had mistaken this for The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney, which is a very different story. I was not disappointed by this one though. This novel really got inside the head of someone who looks at the world a little differently than most people. It talks about loss and how much it affects everyone in a community and how some people have a harder time getting on afterward. Kathryn did an excellent job capturing the children's grief and Caitlin's journey into finding closure. I loved the relationship with Caitlin and her father. In the book she compares them(after her brother has) to Atticus and Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird. Her father is definitely strong like Atticus because you can see how hard it is for him to cope with the loss of his wife and son while taking care of Caitlin. He is very patient. This book should be a must read for any middle school or high school student. It has so many good aspects that will help people not only understand Asperger's but also to understand how everyone feels grief a little differently.

First Line:
"It looks like a one-winged bird crouching in the corner of our living room."

Favorite Line:
"I push my head farther under the sofa cushion but it doesn't swallow me up like I want it to."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Donovan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 21, 2010
Format: Audible Audio Edition
This is the kind of book that I think adults want children to love, but I don't know if children love it. My 12-year-old daughter is an avid reader (and like me, an avid audiobook listener as well), so I told her to listen. She said that it sounded sad, so she wouldn't even try it. I think that she would have liked it, and I don't think it's sad, but I do think that it's more likely to appeal to adults or perhaps older teens who are looking for a more cerebral story.

If someone is touched by Asperger's Syndrome by knowing a classmate, a friend, or a sibling affected by it, I definitely think it would appeal to that kind of reader. I am not personally affected, but am so glad that I read it, hearing Caitlin's voice so clearly.

I think that Out of My Mind, a similar novel from a person's point of view who has a disability, drove the theme of understanding home in a stronger way and with a voice that would probably be more appealing and understandable to 10 - 13 year old readers.

I definitely liked this book. It's a beautiful story -- dramatic, thoughtful, and even funny at times, but I wonder how high the "kid appeal" really is.

If you are an adult reader, and you enjoyed this book, go read Emma Donoghue's Room: A Novel, or vice-versa. Someone who loved ROOM should read MOCKINGBIRD.

AUDIO NOTES: This was an excellent narration. It's in Caitlin's POV, so it would be hard to make it authentic, but Angela Rogers did it. A great listen!
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More About the Author

I grew up in Europe, Africa, Canada, and the United States, and was a lawyer before I figured out what I really wanted to be when I grew up--a writer! I take my inspiration from the world around me and from my personal experiences, including my childhood attending 8 different schools.

I travel a fair amount, give speeches, visit schools, etc. and try keep up my blog and website in between. Writing time is precious -- I'm currently working on a several middle grade and young adult novels, as well as picture books and an adult novel. My latest is THE BADGER KNIGHT, a novel of adventure -- I hope you enjoy it!

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