To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee,

Book cover of To Kill a Mockingbird

Book description

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the…

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Why read it?

28 authors picked To Kill a Mockingbird as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

In this classic Southern tale, six-year-old narrator Scout Finch steals the show. 

This book tackles the good and bad in human nature, delivering astute commentary through gentle conversations between a smart, curious daughter and her wise father. Despite being written over sixty years ago, the relevance of this story persists. 

From mysterious Boo Radley to dependable Calpurnia to humble Atticus Finch, Scout’s story is full of characters that will touch your heart.  

From Audrey's list on strong Southern women.

This classic was one of the first ‘grown up’ works of fiction I read of my own accord, and the effect was profound.

The way the characters confronted prejudice, injustice, and racism as seen through a child’s eye was eye-opening for me. The setting was fascinating to me, as was the Depression era, and I developed an affinity for stories set in small-town farming communities during this time in history.

Scout’s realization that the world, or in this case her street, could be seen differently if one just stands on a neighbour’s porch. A new perspective on the same truth,…

I loved To Kill a Mockingbird when I was growing up—both the book and the movie. (Who can resist Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch?) And I love them both still.

Scout may be one of the best narrators we have in American literature: wise and naïve, fierce and fragile, and as honest as she can possibly be at any given time. Mockingbird leads us into some of the darkest crevices of mid-1930s life in the deep South, and brings us out into the light of love, integrity, and what it truly means to be a good citizen of the world. 

Thanks to some, urm, interesting choices on the part of my high school American Literature teacher, I didn’t read this classic civil rights drama until college.

Lee turns the idea of the unreliable narrator on its head by creating an innocent narrator. There are many things that six-year-old Scout doesn't understand about her world, which allows her to observe it with unassuming clarity. But Scout isn’t just innocent. She’s funny. Her irresistible wit brings light to what could have been a very weighty and dark book.

Scout’s voice makes us want to keep reading a story that forces us to…

From Bridget's list on bold narrators.

This is another book I have taught to English classes and they’ve all fallen in love with its narrator, motherless Scout, cheering her on as she rages against being made into a more suitable ‘girl’ and urged to behave with more propriety.

At the beginning of the story, she is six. She lives in Maycomb, Alabama, in the early 1930s, and has yet to discover the injustice of the society within which she plays in the street, annoys her brother, and goes to school.

Harper Lee shows us very clearly, in the difference between Scout’s retrospective narrative and the child’s…

Atticus and Scout Finch are OG father-daughter #goals, so it’s only fitting that any list of novels about father and daughters start here. Lawyer Atticus Finch teaches young Scout about empathy, the multiple perspectives to a story, and standing up for what’s right. His advice resonates with me decades after I first read this classic in middle school: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Atticus’ compassionate and measuredly wise parenting style, coupled with young Scout’s wide-eyed coming of age and discovery…

From Vibhuti's list on father-daughter relationships.

The story takes place in a small town in Alabama, and is seen through the eyes of six-year-old Scout, the daughter of a compassionate and wise widowed lawyer who volunteers to defend a black man wrongly accused of rape. I found this coming-of-age-too-soon story to be both heartbreaking and beautiful in the lessons it offers up in a raw and unflinching look at the good and the bad that can both fracture and fortify the human spirit. Hailing from the South, I felt uncomfortable by Harper Lee’s hard-line look at a culture so broken by fear and prejudice because of…

Told from the point-of-view of a young girl, Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird masterfully immerses us in fictional Maycomb, Alabama, where racial prejudice and inequities are part of the fabric of the town. Against that backdrop, the precocious Scout, gently guided by Atticus Finch, her father, learns the roots and consequences of racism and otherness. Scout is every outsider child of the South who has questioned norms and stood up against fear-based hatred. This book got deeply under my skin, in my cells, when I read it in high school. I understood Scout and cheered her on from the sidelines.

This novel does a good job showing the difficulty small children have knowing just how to see the world while learning right from wrong, and how, if given emotional room to grow, they most often gain a sense of self that allows their essential goodness to emerge. As a child, I identified with the children depicted in part because I am a child of the American South, raised in a part of the country where being an eccentric is tolerated, even valued, unless and until a scapegoat is needed. The story gives me a nostalgia for a time when historical…

I have a framed handwritten letter sent to me by Harper Lee after I wrote her expressing my love of her novel. The movie was the only film I remember my entire family seeing together in a theater. This American literature classic won the Pulitzer Prize. While dealing with rape, racial inequality, and mental illness, it still is filled with warmth, humor, and love of family. 

It was for a time the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and at one time, was required reading in secondary schools, which resulted in sales of around a million copies…

From Skip's list on finding justice.

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