***CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS***
Caitlin is completely lost after her teenage brother was killed in a school shooting, as any 5th grade girl would be. But Caitlin isn’t like other 5th graders. She has Asperger’s, a syndrome which is on the Autism spectrum. She sees the world differently. Feelings and emotions are difficult for Caitlin to recognize and understand in herself and others. Her brother was the only person who understands her and after his death, she struggles to make sense of the world around her. Caitlin desperately wants closure, but doesn’t know where to start. During the grieving process, she slowly learns empathy and finds a new connection with other people.
Kathryn Erskine does an amazing job with a difficult topic. She writes in first person, which gives the reader some insight into Caitlin’s world. Many of Caitlin’s actions and words seem uncomprehensible, but coming from her perspective, they seem to make more sense. The author’s daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s when she was young, and her familiarity with the syndrome makes Caitlin’s character sympathetic and believable.
Anyone who appreciates a story told from a unique perspective will enjoy this heart-wrenching book. In its themes, it reminded me of Wonder by R.J. Palacio. In both stories, the main characters are ostracized by their peers based soley on their differences. Great books like Mockingbird and Wonder will help educate young people about diversity and tolerance and help readers to understand that everyone deserves to be accepted, no matter what their differences.
Recommendation: 5 out of 5 lupines
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- Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. (encinolibrary.wordpress.com)