When Caitlin and her dad are left to deal with the shocking death of her brother, Devon, they grieve in ways foreign to each other. Caitlin’s Asperger’s syndrome makes it difficult to Get It when her dad can’t do the ritual Thursday night pizza in front of the tv anymore. As Caitlin struggles to develop empathy and see past the literal meaning of what people say, she changes from isolated within herself to someone who Works At It and even finds a few friendships in the process.
Both beautifully sad and heart-warming, Kathryn Erskine’s Mockingbird explores the intricate and often difficult relationships among family members, counselors and classmates. Understanding is a lot of work, but so worth it. Because as Caitlin says, “I want to build something good and strong and beautiful.”
For classroom discussion ideas, see the Six Traits Gurus. Also, this book is filled with symbolism. Examine the unfinished chest, Devon’s bedroom door and the heart.