Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Friday, September 26, 2014

I Kill the Mockingbird

I Kill the Mockingbird
by Paul Acampora
From the publisher:
"When Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list, they are excited to see To Kill A Mockingbird included. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm. So they hatch a plot to get the entire town talking about the well-known Harper Lee classic. They plan controversial ways to get people to read the book, including re-shelving copies of the book in bookstores so that people think they are missing and starting a website committed to “destroying the mockingbird.” Their efforts are successful when all of the hullabaloo starts to direct more people to the book. But soon, their exploits start to spin out of control and they unwittingly start a mini revolution in the name of books."

I'm not gonna lie - I'm having quite a love affair with middle grade books lately. And this one did not disappoint, I loved it. There is no insta-love, no mythical creatures, no hormonal angst, no partying, drinking, or other inappropriate behaviors; just good, normal kids from loving homes who do something a little crazy that changes the world. It was wonderfully refreshing. One of the quotes I love from the book:

"If you're a teacher, you dream about having students who will try to change the world someday because of something you do or say in the classroom."

There are so many things to love about this book, one reviewer called it a "book-lover's book" and in an online article the author called it his "love-letter to books". Another favorite quote:

"A book connects you to the universe like a cell phone connects you to the Internet." ..... "But it only works if your battery's not dead."

Now, there are several books lately that could have been called "book-lovers books", but this one is definitely my favorite. And although the main character loves the book that the title comes from ( To Kill a Mockingbird ) , one of the other major characters doesn't like it, he loves Dickens. So it shows that different books speak to different people, and I think that is an important concept to know. You could argue that these almost-9th-grade-book-nerds are too well read, but I know kids like them and it's wonderful to see that kind of student celebrated. Maybe that is why I felt such a connection with the characters, or maybe it is because they were described so well.

As I mentioned before, each of the 3 main characters come from good, loving homes. Not homes that are perfect and without problems, because each character has their own different set of problems, but loving homes where they are taught good behavior and good values. In a conversation with his daughter about her mother's cancer, Lucy's dad tells her:

“Life is a gift. Going to church is like sending a thank-you card.”

Lucy's mother was also full of wisdom. When Lucy was treating her mother with kid gloves and worrying constantly about her health, her mother told her:

 “I'm not one of those people who think that cancer is some kind of jousting match. People live or die based on good medicine, good luck, and the grace of God. The people that die from it did not fail. The people who live will die another day.”

Oh gosh, there are so many amazing quotes from this book. Just check out the quotes page on GoodReads (https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/26123583-i-kill-the-mockingbird).
I loved, loved, loved this book, it would make a great classroom or family read-aloud, or a quick, fun individual read. Let me finish with this one last quote from the WWW.KILLaMOCKINGBIRD.com manifesto:

“We support all actions that lead to the joy, the fun, the reward, the challenge, and the adventure of reading.”

Read this book for all those reasons.  And yes, I have ordered more books by this author for our library :) . 

Suggested Ages:
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 10-14
School Library Journal - Grades 5-8
*Mrs. Duke says "Everyone!"

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