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?

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

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.

Once again, I read this book as my children studied it in school. I especially liked the story since I belong to a visible minority community and this story posed the fundamental question: how do I get along with people who are different from me?

The book was published in America in 1960 but the story is set in the mid-1930s in the small town of Maycomb in the state of Alabama. The story is told by Scout Finch, a six-year-old girl who lives with her lawyer father, Atticus, and her ten-year-old brother Jem. Their father, Atticus, defends a Black…

To Kill a Mockingbird has everything I like in novel: a courtroom drama with a distinctive social significance; escalating tension with the omnipresent threat of violence; great characters; and a realistically-drawn small Southern town. In a brilliant twist, you discover Jim Crow's unjust and terrifying racism through the eyes of its loveable, unforgettable narrator, innocent young Scout, just as she experiences it, instead of an adult like her lawyer-father Atticus who has learned to live within the society as it is. I've read Ms. Lee's novel several times (plus seen its derivative film and play) because it moved me, leaving…

Has American literature, or any literature, ever produced a more towering heroic figure than Atticus Finch? Yet he was not a strong warrior or powerful knight, but a simple man doing what he knew to be right despite the consequences. This character inspires me so that I named my book after him.

From Hunter's list on inspiring heroism.

Probably on many lists of greatest books of all time, I would recommend this novel as the ultimate example of why I wanted to become a lawyer. I wanted to save the world because Atticus Finch stood up against all odds. It’s also a great coming-of-age novel, as well. Told from his young daughter’s point of view, it’s an innocent telling of a story. You probably have seen the movie version, but the book made the tale that it is. Life lessons abound throughout and it’s important to see the tensions of almost a hundred years ago are still around…

A classic. Lee takes us on a journey through the eyes of a young Scout Finch. Looking through the eyes of a child into the worlds of both children and adults gives a peek into the flickering change from child to adult. I feel it is a special talent for an adult to move back into her child’s mind to paint the world and create an adventure. 

From Robert's list on first person that tell it like it is.

What I love about this novel is the transparent honesty of the children and the unshakeable solidity of their father, who provides a moral compass for their sleepy Alabama town in the depths of the hardest times anybody can remember. The book is filled with poignant details of place and time, and the dialogue is pitch perfect. If you haven’t read Mockingbird lately, please do. It’s the best first stop on a journey through the 1930s. Favorite quote: “Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

Jean Louise Finch is the magnifying glass that sees and understands more than her eight years would first suggest. Her nickname ‘Scout’ not only tells us something about her curiosity for life in her small-town world but is also a flag that signals the change in a single minded and racist world. 

While Lee lulls us with twilight motes filtering through the Dogwood trees lining southern sidewalks, she slowly allows us to understand that it is the innocent who live by the grace of others, and that it is most often the innocent who suffer at their hands as well.…

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