Sunday, April 6, 2014


Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM), a weekly event hosted by author Shannon Messenger. For a list of other MMGM posts, click HERE.

Kathryn Erskine
224 pp.
Ages 10 - 12

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 Dad is no help at all. 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, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful.


I listened to Mockingbird on my iPod in the car. It wasn't my favorite Audible performance, but I did enjoy it overall. Caitlin's story is told from a very young point of view. Caitlin is supposed to be ten years old and in fifth grade, but the character sounds closer to six or seven. I could dismiss that, however, because Caitlin also has Asperger's Syndrome which might account for her immaturity. That is my only complaint.

Erskine masterfully allows readers a glimpse into the broken hearts of Caitlin's father and community following the tragic shooting at the local middle school. Caitlin's older brother was one of the victims. The author wrote this story following the shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007. Published in 2010, Mockingbird seems almost prophetic when considering the horrible tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012. Sadly, I went to Wikipedia to look up the date of these two shootings and discovered a shockingly long list of school shootings, most of which we've never heard of. So this book tackles an issue that is not uncommon.

I love Caitlin's father in Mockingbird, and her counselor as well. All the characters are so deep and compelling with just the barest of description. This is a fantastic story that can be enjoyed by even younger readers, especially those who may be facing a loss of their own.


Profanity:  None
Violence:  Moderate (subject matter)
Sexuality:  None 


  1. I liked this story. It's been a while since I read it but I still remember some of the feelings I had when I read it. Thanks for reminding me about it.

  2. I remember previously hearing about this story, but never got around to actually finding a copy. I've been reading quite a few books about kids with special needs so I might as well add this to the list. Thanks for featuring

  3. This book moved me to tears. It's one of my favorite MG reads and certainly deserved the National Book Award. I really loved how the author captured Caitlin's voice so well (I can still hear her saying "Look at the Person."). I also loved the connection with To Kill a Mockingbird.

    1. I agree. I don't know why I waited so long to read it.

  4. You know, this is a book I have yet to read and off to get it...right now. About I read it. Thanks for the feature.

  5. Thanks for sharing and books involving kids with some kind of disease or disability is a great way to introduce it to those who don't know what living that way is like. Tragic that the brother died and a young girl has to go through the grief.

  6. I'm another one who hasn't read this yet, but this sounds like a very emotional read. Thanks for featuring it--and reminding me I need to read this.