Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Two of my favorite tweens (one being mine) read this the same time I did, and it received our unanimous approval of three.

The conflict in the book is a sober topic: a school shooting. Rare is the tween who is unaware of such tragic events in our day. This book can make a positive contribution to the dialogue surrounding such an event.

The author chooses an engaging perspective to convey the message of the importance of understanding others: he tells the story from the point-of-view of a girl with Asperger’s. Her brother, one person who tried to understand her, was killed in a school shooting. The book tells the story from her point of view.

I did find one part a bit cheesy. It was where the girl, a first-grader she befriended whose mother , a teacher who died in the shooting, and Josh, cousin of the shooter, are embroiled in a confrontation with other students who chime in, angry at Josh. In an effort to make a point about compassion, I thought the characters became a bit less believable. One tween reader agreed with me; the other didn’t know what I was talking about. We all agreed it didn’t detract from the main story and the interest we had in learning about how a person with Asperger’s thinks, feels, and struggles to integrate.

Closure: a word that Caitlin struggled with. The thing she helped her community and father move toward. The satisfaction felt turning the last page of this book.

SAFETY RATING: 3 Flags (older tweens, due to serious topic)


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