Mockingbird (Erskine novel)

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Author Kathryn Erskine
Country United States
Language English
Genre Family
Media type Print
ISBN 0-14-241775-0

Mockingbird is a young adult novel by American author Kathryn Erskine about a girl with Asperger syndrome coping with the loss of her brother. It won the 2010 U.S. National Book Award for Young People's Literature.[1][2]


The protaginist is a girl named Caitlin Smith who has Asperger syndrome and is preoccupied with drawing and dictionaries. She has just experienced the loss of her brother Devon who has been killed along with a teacher and another student at a school shooting. Due to her condition, she finds it difficult to cope with her feelings about what has happened being awkward and pedantic, seeing things in black and white such as referring to her deceased brother as 'Devon who is dead' when talking to her father.

Soon after she discovers the words empathy and closure and determines that this is what she and her distraught father need. With the help of a school councillor and art teacher, although initially being antagonistic, she is able to assist her father, a boy called Michael, and the school bully Josh, who is a cousin of the shooter, to cope.

Eventually Caitlin, Michael, and Josh are all friends, and go to the dedication ceremony together.


Common Sense Media found the book to be 'sensitive, captivating, and, just put simply, a great read.',[3] while Simon Mason of The Guardian thought that the author's 'evocation of "Asperger thinking" is impressive and sensitively managed, but such narrowing of the focus reinforces the story's programmatic nature.' and concluded 'In the end, like Caitlin's drawings, Mockingbird is a neat outline in black and white. It could have done with more colour.'[4]

Kirkus Reviews found that 'Erskine draws directly and indirectly on To Kill a Mockingbird and riffs on its central theme: The destruction of an innocent is perhaps both the deepest kind of psychosocial wound a community can face and its greatest opportunity for psychological and spiritual growth.'[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Book Awards – 2010". National Book Foundation (NBF). Retrieved 2012-04-16.
    (With acceptance speech by Erskine; interview, reading, and other material replicated for all five Young People's Literature authors and books.)
  2. ^ "2010 National Book Award Winner, Young People's Literature" (November 17, 2010). NBF. Retrieved 2010-11-18.
    (Acceptance speech by Erskine with some other material.)
  3. ^ "Mockingbird". Common Sense Media Inc. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Mason, Simon (4 February 2012). "Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine". the guardian (Guardian News and Media Ltd). Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Mockingbird". Kirkus Media LLC. 1 March 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 

External links[edit]