More than 50 years after it was first published, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is getting a lot of interest with the release of a new book by author Harper Lee. This interest is only a reminder that this classic novel is as relevant today as the day it was published with its warmth and delicate handling of racial inequality. This one is a must read.
The story follows Scout Finch going to school for the first time in Maycolm, Alabama during the Great Depression. This moment in history is captured in perfect detail in the classroom with children with no shoes, no lunches and no baths. Scout and her brother, Jem, become fascinated with a spooky house in the neighborhood and "Boo" Radley, who supposedly has lived inside for years with no one seeing him. Their fascination turns into a friendship of sorts as Jem loses his pants sneaking around the Radley place, only to find them mended on the fence when he comes back for them later and the pair find treasures tucked inside a tree outside the Radley place.
Their father, Atticus Finch is a lawyer who defends a black man accused of rape. There isn't much hope for his client in the atmosphere of time and place, although Atticus provides some convincing testimony of his innocence. The very act of defending Tom Robinson brings repercussions for the Robinson family as well as the Finches.
"To Kill a Mockingbird" has been so successful, winning a Pulitzer Prize and topping the best seller list for many reasons. It is very readable, with relevant topics that are made palpable to children through a very relatable and lovable Scout.