Book - 2010
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"In Caitlin's world, everything is black and white. Anything in between is confusing. That's the stuff her brother, Devon, always explained. But now Devon is dead, and her father cries a lot. She wants to help her dad--and herself!--but as a ten-year-old girl with Asperger's syndrome, she doesn't know how. She turns to textbooks and dictionaries, easy for Caitlin because they're full of facts in black and white. After reading the definition of Closure, Caitlin knows this is just what she and her father need. And she is determined to find it. In her search, she discovers that not everything is really black and white--the world is full of colors, messy and beautiful. And perhaps if she "Works At It," Caitlin and her father can have Closure and Empathy, too"--Cover, p. 2.
Publisher: New York, NY : Philomel Books, c2010.
ISBN: 9780399252648
Branch Call Number: YA Ersk
Characteristics: 235 p. ; 19 cm.
Alternative Title: Mok'ing-bûrd


From the critics

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Jul 12, 2018

Words cannot express how emotion-filled, touching, and eye-opening the 2012 “Mockingbird” novel by Kathryn Erskine was; it was a book that went beyond the ordinary to help mature readers understand what it is truly like to suffer from Asperger syndrome, let alone lose a loved one. “Mockingbird” has a one-of-a-kind plot about an 11-year-old that chooses not to address the fact that she has a disability and is faced with a tragic event that might possibly have a long-term effect on her day-to-day life. It is absolutely heartbreaking yet incredibly conscious, aware, and well-informed of the impact of such emotionally-draining circumstances on the families of the victims of school shootings. Kathryn Erskine expressed the ups and downs of the main character’s emotional road to finding closure, which is simply the word Caitlin, the 11-year-old, found while repetitively reading the dictionary, one of her preoccupations as a child with Asperger syndrome. Overall, this novel was amazingly and expertly written by the author and I would absolutely recommend “Mockingbird” to mature readers looking for a heartfelt read. Rating 3/5.
- @BiggerPictureReviews of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Cheryl_JHL Oct 19, 2017

(from my Goodreads review):

Much in the way The Higher Power of Lucky examines adult (in that case, alcoholism/addiction) issues through the lens of a child's naivety, Mockingbird provides a portrait of grief and pain through the eyes of a child on the Autism spectrum. Caitlin (who has Aspergers) and her father (a widower) are working through the loss of her brother Devon after a school shooting.

Caitlin can't connect what she is feeling and experiencing to emotions, or understand the emotions and reactions of people around her, but through her eyes, we see a simple, but vivid, portrait of a parent's grief and the confusion of a community trying to recover from a tragedy. It gets a bit...I'm not sure... meta, maybe? ... as the character herself doesn't understand it and struggles to see it with the help of her school counselor and friend, but through her experience, readers not on the spectrum can see it all clearly.

The book is therefore not only a portrait, but an illustration of the disconnect. It is simultaneously detached and intimate in a way that is almost unsettling. I really appreciated this and Erskine's attempt to create understanding.

It didn't leave me feeling good, but it was thought provoking.

bookgirlatDCL Sep 19, 2017

An excellent book if you want to get into the mind of a person with Asperger's.

sarahbru17 Aug 03, 2017

Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
Writing: 10/10
What an emotionally-loaded book. Many tears were shed, and I don't know that I could re-read it again for a long time, but it was excellent.

Jul 12, 2017

thought Cailtin was a great character and I thoroughly enjoyed getting inside her head. It was wonderful to see the story from her perspective and examine how she saw the world. I struggled with the plot because I didn't feel like there was one. I recognize Caitlin's growth in finding Closure and friends and reconciling with her father. But it was slow at points and hard to sink my teeth into. It could be because of the target audience again. I don't know.

What I do know is that I enjoyed Caitlin's examination of the world and of herself. Mrs. Brooks was one of the best characters in the whole thing. I feel like the message of the author, about school shootings, violence and neurodiversity was sometimes a little too distracting, despite it's importance. Caitlin saved the story, or lack there of, for me.

Jan 25, 2017

It is a terrific book like "Wonder" by R.J. Palacio or "Firegirl" by Tony Abbott. These books help to challenge us all to live in another person's world for short time. Mockingbird introduces us to Caitlin with Asperger's syndrome. As the story continues, Mockingbird also shows how a family and community are dealing with death and school shootings. In the end, it is a positive story of empathy and trying to understand the concerns/fears of others around us.

Sep 26, 2015

Sad Story

RainbowDash123 Jun 11, 2014

The Mockingbird by Kathryn Ershine is a realistic fiction book. This book is about a 5th grade girl, Caitlin , who has Asperger's syndrome. She searches for closure as a way to move on after her brother's death. My favorite part of the book is when she discvers how to deal with life. The Mockingbird is spectacular. I reacommend this book to readers who love characters with life challenges.

Feb 09, 2014

Bittersweet very bittersweet.

ChristchurchLib Jan 28, 2014

"Ten-year-old Caitlin Smith's older brother Devon died in a recent school shooting, and because Caitlin has Asperger's syndrome, the sadness, anger, and confusion that follow are even harder for her to deal with than they would be for most kids. Caitlin has no idea how to carry on now that Devon is gone, but with some help from a kind and patient school counsellor, she figures out a way to help not just herself, but also her grieving father and her whole community. Readers who like sad yet hopeful stories with great characters won't want to miss Mockingbird." Kids' Books January 2014 newsletter

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Add Age Suitability
Sep 08, 2018

thevales thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Mar 11, 2015

brown_monkey_214 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 7 and 11

Oct 22, 2014

MARVEL4LIFE thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 99

Oct 17, 2014

MARMOT0vv0 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 7 and 9

Angie1046 Oct 16, 2013

Angie1046 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Jul 08, 2013

green_turtle_1242 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 13

violet_panda_813 May 28, 2013

violet_panda_813 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 13

jessy24 Aug 15, 2012

jessy24 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

duckynom Jul 08, 2012

duckynom thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

samihanaimah Jun 23, 2012

samihanaimah thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over


Add a Summary
Jun 11, 2015

A ten year old girl with Asperger's syndrome struggles to reach closure with the recent death of her beloved brother.

no6346 Jun 14, 2011

Caitlin is a ten-year-old girl with Asperger's Syndrome. When her brother, Devon, is killed in a shooting, the whole town tries to help Caitlin. But how can they help? Caitlin does not even remember them, and some she has never met. Some of the people who try to help though, do. For example, Caitlin's counselor helps Caitlin find friends, Caitlin's dad help Caitlin finish her brother's Eagle Scout project, the art teacher from the middle school get Caitlin to see the world in all colors, and many more people.


Add a Quote
Jun 11, 2015

"We have to reach Closure"

jessy24 Aug 15, 2012

"but you can develope that strength"
-Mrs. Brooks


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stevethorne Oct 09, 2013

Other: Death

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