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Mockingbird Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 15, 2010
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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.
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
Top customer reviews
But Caitlin cannot feel the pain.
And so, thanks to the amazing skills of the author, we enter her world, one in which special education personnel are satirized, something I note that others reviewing this book seem to have missed. But I have been a public school educator for my adult life. And just found this so right-on.
But it's a sad book as well. And, of course, it is tied into "To Kill a Mockingbird" although you will not discover that until you get well into this amazing novel.
It is really not a young adult book, not at all.
Angela Youngers, author and book lover
connect with Angela on Twitter: @AngelaYoungers
I loved this book very much. Didn't take me long to read it at all as I became so engrossed in it.
The way Caitlin 'spoke' and what she said was so true to my dealings with children with autism. I know, there are many different ways in which autistic children deal and speak, but this was true to MY understanding and interactions.
I am now searching for more books by this author.