To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

A tale of the old South as seen through the eyes of young Scout Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most famous American novels of all time. The book won the Pulitzer Prize and has been translated into over 40 languages worldwide. Voted The Best Novel of the Century (20th Century) by librarians (Library Journal), this novel has stood the test of time. The 50th Anniversary Edition was published in 2010.

The action takes place in a sleepy little town named Maycomb, Alabama, at the height of the Great Depression (1933). Racial tension is high, and when a black man is accused of raping a white woman, Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, does what he believes in—he stands up for the wrongly accused—the underdog—the black man.

The trial accounts for only half of this beloved novel. The other storyline is Scout and Jem Finch trying to catch a glimpse of sequestered neighbor Boo Radley. Boo is the neighborhood Bogey man, a creature who only comes out after dark to steal innocent, sleeping children from their beds. Before long, Scout and Jem have a strange relationship with Boo. He never appears in the daylight, but he helps them by mending Jem’s torn pants and drapes a blanket around Scout’s shoulders when a fire consumes a neighbor’s house.

It is not until the fateful night when Bob Ewell attacks the children, that Boo shows his face. He saves Jem’s and Scout’s lives, and Atticus introduces Boo to the children.

This seemingly simple tale is quite a disturbing view into American history. The South in all its glory is uncovered by southerner Harper Lee. Originally published in 1960, this book created controversy then and is still one of the most banned books in America.

Highly, highly recommended grades 7-adult. You can’t read this novel just once. Read it several times; each time you may see a nuance you missed the time before.

Recommended by Pamela Thompson, Librarian.

Check this and other reviews on her ya novel blog at

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