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Mockingbird by [Erskine, Kathryn]
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Mockingbird Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 321 customer reviews

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Length: 239 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Grade Level: 5 and up

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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

Product Details

  • File Size: 2386 KB
  • Print Length: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (April 15, 2010)
  • Publication Date: April 15, 2010
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004CYF10Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,278 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
Reason for Reading: I have Asperger's and when I saw a book that featured a female protagonist with Asperger's I was elated and HAD to read the book.

I came away from this book very satisfied. As a female with Asperger's I felt that Caitlin was portrayed realistically. There can be wide differences in how males and females present and I think the author managed to bring those out in Caitlin, though the intense plot does put Caitlin in a situation above and beyond normal everyday life.

A small town has been devastated. The local junior high was hit by two gun wielding students who managed to kill one teacher and two students before the police shot one perpetrator and apprehended the other. One of the students who was shot is Caitlin's older brother, Devon. Their mother had died many years ago when Caitlin was a baby and Devon had really become her rock. He was a great big brother. He treated her well and knew how to deal with her as a person with Asperger's almost naturally. He'd tell her not to do stuff 'cause it wasn't cool or that people didn't like it when she did this or that and why and his advice helped her. Now Caitlin's world revolves around seeing a councilor daily at school, coping with her father's sudden crying sessions and missing Devon in her own way. People want her to be more emotional and show more empathy (traits those with Asperger's do not always appear to show) and Caitlin finally finds the word "CLOsure" and knows that is what both she and her father need.

The plot itself is well done. A small community coping with this horrible violence that has entered its once thought serene boundaries.
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