I couldn’t put this book down! I read it all Sunday, at lunch recess today, and finished it before supper. The book I couldn’t put down was Mockingbird (mok’ing-bûrd) by Kathryn Erskine.
In some ways it reminds me of Wonder by R. J. Palacio and Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. I loved those two books, but this one may be my favorite of the three. These books all help us empathize with children who are different in some way than the majority of their peers.
A father and daughter with Asperger’s Syndrome are learning to have closure after a debilitating tragedy has hit their community, and especially their family. A shooting took place at the Virginia Dare Middle School, and in this passage, there is a dialogue between the father and his daughter about upcoming middle school.
“Are you okay with going to…that school?”
He sucks in his breath when I say it.
He closes his eyes.
I shrug. “I guess. They don’t have recess in middle school and I don’t like recess.”
Dad opens his eyes but he still stares at the air. “If I could afford to pay for a private school for you I would.”
People talk about private schools but I don’t know exactly what they are. So I ask. “Does private mean I’m the only one in the school? Because I’d like that at lot.”
“No. Of course not.”
“So it’s just like a regular school?”
I shake my head. “Then I don’t want private. I’m fine with the regular one.”
He nods and lets out a big breath. “Okay.”
From Chapter 23
I picked that passage to share because it shows the humor Kathryn Erskine is able to add into an otherwise terrible situation. The protagonist, Caitlyn, is working so hard to learn her manners, get along with people, make friends, plus find closure for the loss of her beloved brother. She ends up helping others find closure around the tragic event as well. (If you read it, you won’t see the quotation marks like I used in the passage above. The author doesn’t use quotation marks; instead she uses italics when characters are speaking. It takes some paying attention to know who is and when people are talking.)
This book is a 10, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys realistic fiction with a satisfactory ending to a sad situation.