In a nutshell: A girl on the autism spectrum reaches out past her own family's tragedy to help others as she helps herself.
In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead, and her father cries a lot. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of “closure” in the dictionary, she realizes that is what she and her father need. In her search for Closure, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white--the world is full of colors--messy and beautiful, and it is through this discovery that she embarks on a road which leads her to find both healing and closure.
Mockingbird won the 2010 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
"As readers celebrate this milestone with Caitlin, they realize that they too have been developing empathy by walking a while in her shoes, experiencing the distinctive way that she sees and interacts with the world."
Kirkus, Starred Review
"...this novel is not about violence as much as about the ways in which a wounded community heals."
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"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 Asbergers."
Fun Facts About Mockingbird
Here are a variety of covers of Mockingbird in a variety of countries!
Mockingbird -- or Passarinha in Brazilian Portuguese -- is being made into a play in Brazil! I'm thrilled and honored.
Review of MOCKINGBIRD by avid reader, Janet Johnson
I loved this book.
When fifth-grader Caitlin Smith loses her older brother in a school shooting, her already-difficult world becomes even harder. Caitlin has Asperger's syndrome, which doesn't help her deal well with the tragedy her family has endured. Then one day, she hears the word "closure," and she knows she has to find it in order to accept the death of her brother. She also wants to help the young boy who lost his mother in the same shooting. But how can either of them heal when closure is so hard to find?
The author did a wonderful job portraying a child with A.S. Reading this book gave me an idea of how these special children view the world and the people in it. I actually think some of us could learn a lesson or two from Caitlin! She reacts to others with honesty and truth.
This novel really touched me. You feel the pain and sorrow a family goes through when they lose a loved one. The heartache is so real that the reader experiences it, too. But Caitlin bravely searches for the key to healing, and the reader can't help but applaud her efforts. She is a very lovable girl.
If you are looking for a touching and inspiring story, then read this novel.
Lovely book vlog of Mockingbird, Big Nate, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7toPjn8cU4&feature=share
Mockingbird is also a play
Thanks to Julie Jensen, playwright, and Tracy Callahan, director, Mockingbird was a powerful play at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. It has been performed at a number of other theaters, too, and I hope the show goes on (and on)!
The reviews were fantastic -- here's a sampling:
Mockingbird offers a finely nuanced look at grief, love, and autism with a hearty dose of laughter mixed with the tears. This five star world premiere from the Kennedy Center and VSA, is not to be missed. --DC Metro Theater Arts
Mockingbird provides an entertaining jolt of theater for kids and parents alike, as well as accessible jumping off point for families to explore tough topics like bullying, mental disorders, and loss. --DC Theatre Scene
Most importantly, this is a simple story told beautifully in a way that both adults and their kids can appreciate. --Broadway World