Book Review of Mockingbird
The Children’s Book Review
Written by Kathryn Erskine
Ages 10+ | 240 Pages
Publisher: Philomel Books (2010) | ISBN-13: 9780399252648
What to Expect: Loss of a Sibling, Autism, Reality Fiction, and Family
Kathryn Erskine is an incredibly talented author whose unique and diverse upbringing contributed significantly to her writing skills. Her experiences attending eight schools worldwide, including a Hogwarts-like castle in Scotland, have given her a broad perspective on life and a wealth of inspiration for her storytelling. Her poignant novel, Mockingbird, is one of her most beloved and award-winning works.
Mockingbird is a captivating and evocative tale that beautifully touches on the themes of love, loss, and the human experience. Centered around the life of ten-year-old Caitlin Smith, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, the story follows her journey to find closure and understanding after her older brother’s tragic passing in a school shooting. While struggling to come to terms with her loss and the feelings of isolation that come with her autism, Caitlin remains resolute in her quest to make sense of the tragic event that turned her world upside down.
Erskine’s writing is both poignant and powerful, offering readers a new and unique perspective on the human struggle and the enduring power of connection in the face of adversity. Such is the brilliance of Mockingbird that it is no wonder it won the prestigious 2010 U.S. National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, solidifying its place in the pantheon of great American novels.
What makes Mockingbird so powerful and relatable for so many readers is that it was inspired by Erskine’s personal experiences as a mother. Her daughter has Asperger Syndrome, which causes social and communication difficulties. When Erskine’s daughter read Mockingbird, she was deeply moved by how accurately it portrayed her own experiences of the world.
Anyone who reads Mockingbird will come away with a renewed appreciation for the power of perseverance, compassion, and understanding in the face of tragedy.
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About the Author
Kathryn Erskine spent many years as a lawyer before realizing that she’d rather write things that people might actually enjoy reading. She grew up mostly overseas and attended eight different schools, her favorite being the Hogwarts-type castle in Scotland. The faculty, of course, did not consist of wizards, although… how did the headmistress know that it was the wee redhead who led the campaign to free the mice from the biology lab?
Erskine draws on her childhood and her second childhood through her children for her stories. She still loves to travel but nowadays most trips tend to be local, such as basketball and tennis courts, occasional emergency room visits, and the natural food store for very healthy organic chocolate with life saving flavonoids.
What to Read Next if You Love Mockingbird
- Out of My Mind, by Sharon Draper
- Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
- Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
- Fish in a Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt