Monday, November 21, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Mockingbird (and a Giveaway)

 Mockingbird helped my kids and me live inside an Asperger's brain, and for that I am so grateful to Kathryn Erskine. This is one of those books where you sink into the character; you put on her skin and walk around in it. And because you do, you have an understanding of something new. I love those kind of books.

The premise: Ten-year-old Caitlin struggles understanding the world. Her older brother Devon used to fill in the voids for her, but now Devon is dead--although Caitlin doesn't really Get It. But she wants to Get It. When she reads the definition of Closure in the dictionary, she knows Closure is what she needs (and what her dad needs too) in order to Get It. So Caitlin bravely searches for Closure.   

What keeps readers reading: Being in Caitlin's mind. Readers experience what the world looks like through Asperger's eyes, and Kathryn Erskine so masterfully places you in this hard place. Devon died in a school shooting, something Caitlin's community is still reeling from. So in Caitlin's search for Closure, she not only helps herself and her dad, but she reaches an entire community. Mockingbird delves into harsh places and sad places but Caitlin's determination--at times heart-breaking--is beautiful. This 2010 National Book Award Winner challenges readers to understand what they think they cannot and then live out that new understanding.

Because this book is so impacting, it is my first of three giveaways for Akoss's Winter 2011 Giveaway Hop. Comment on this post by Friday, November 25, at 10pm to enter a drawing for this marvelous book (U.S. mailing addresses only, please). Even if you own your own copy, enter anyway and pass the gift of Mockingbird on to someone else.


Other MMGMers and their recommendations:
Find their links in my right sidebar
Happy middle grade reading! 

19 comments:

  1. Hey Barbara. This book has been on my to read pile for a too long time. Need to get it read and book talked. Love the cover on the paperback!

    Thanks for sharing and don't enter me in the giveaway I'm up in Canada.

    Cheers and enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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  2. This sounds like an excellent book. It has been on my list of books to read for a while. Thank you for the review.

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  3. Mockingbird sounds superb. Have you read "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime"? I never knew why that book wasn't marketed as YA or even upper middle grade

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  4. This book sounds very deep and emotional. I'm intrigued to see how the subject of death and loss is handled for the middle grade crowd.
    Great review.

    PS: are commenters allowed to enter for each giveaway on each monday?

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  5. This book has been on my reading list since I attended a workshop with the editor a couple months ago. She got choked up and had us in tears simply reading isolated passages out loud - amazing.

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  6. Yes! Commentors can enter each giveaway, each Monday!

    And no, I haven't read THE CURIOUS INCIDENT...

    Kathryn Erskine writes about these difficult issues so beautifully.

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  7. Oh, I loved this book -- and I do own it already, so even though you said I could enter, please give it to someone else! My house is overflowing with books I should be giving away.

    I don't think I ever really understood Asperger's until I read this. And I'd already read CURIOUS INCIDENT (which I agree with angelhorn could have been YA. Not upper MG, though, because of the mature language!)

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  8. I have been wanting to get this book for a long time. I have a nephew with autism and I'm always making my daughters read books with characters on the autism spectrum. It was a great review--I hadn't really understood the plot before. Glad you're doing this!

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  9. Thanks for the recommendation and giveaway! You've made me want to read this one.

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  10. Yay!! I LOVED this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  11. I haven't read this yet, but it does sound like a must. I read a book a few years ago about a boy with Asperger's, but it wasn't told from his perspective, so this would definitely be a different view. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  12. This is a lovely book. I just finished it myself a few weeks ago. Definitely brings an understanding I never had before.

    I checked it out from our library, so I would definitely like to enter. It would make a great addition to the books I loan my students. :-)

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  13. Just LOVED this book!!! If I were to win, I would send it to my niece Anabelle. It truly is a story to share!!

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  14. Barbara- Would love to read this book. I have had 2 kids with aspergers in my daycare. Enter me please! I miss seeing you on facebook!!! Elizabeth

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  15. Oh,I loved this book! Definitely agree with your recommendation. [Please don't enter me in your giveaway, I'm Canadian.]

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  16. Wow, this book definitely sounds like a must-read. I'll be checking our local library if I don't win a copy.

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  17. Hi, this book sounds like something I need to add to my library. I teach 7th grade language arts and I have a student with Asperger's. Love your blog.

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  18. This was one of my favorite reads of 2011. I loved it. The characters were rich and multifaceted and I have never forgotten the emotions I felt when I read it.

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  19. I have heard wonderful things about this novel!

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