To Kill A Mockingbird - a classic book, a memorable movie...
Harper Lee's Masterpiece, To Kill A Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. Author Harper Lee said it was a love story, but most people think of it as a great classic of Southern life. She never had another book published, yet this one, written early in life, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961--the highest honor for great literature. In 1999 a Library Journal poll chose To Kill A Mockingbird as the best novel of the century.
To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the greatest children's novels ever written. It is more often enjoyed by adults. The pacing is perfect, the descriptions are luscious and lavish, and the characters are unique and intriguing. Released at the apex of the Civil Rights Movement, the plot is a world-class exposé and examination of racism in the heart of 1930s America.
Image above: Mockingbird - found on Wikipedia Commons.
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To Kill A Mockingbird - An Amazing First Novel
To Kill A Mockingbird - Awards and Honors for the Novel
First Edition Cover
- The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction - 1961
- The Brotherhood Award - National Conference of Christians and Jews - 1961
- Best Novel of the Twentieth Century - American Librarians
- Sold more than 30 million copies.
- Translated into 40 languages.
To Kill A Mockingbird - The Oscar Winning Movie - This is a classic black and white movie - well worth watching if you haven't seen it already.
To Kill A Mockingbird - Awards for the Movie
- Academy Award for Best Actor (Gregory Peck)
- Academy Award for Best Art Direction - Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Henry Bumstead, Alexander Golitzen, Muzamiel Hady, & Oliver Emert)
- Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay (Horton Foote)
- Oscar Nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Mary Badham)
- Oscar Nomination for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
- Oscar Nomination for Best Director (Robert Mulligan)
- Oscar Nomination for Best Music, Score - Substantially Original
- Oscar Nomination for Best Picture
- Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama (Gregory Peck)
- Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score - Motion Picture (Elmer Bernstein)
- Golden Globe Award for Best Film Promoting International Understanding
- 1995 - National Film Registry
- Gary Cooper Award (Robert Mulligan)
- Best Foreign Actor (Migliore Attore Straniero) (Gregory Peck)
- Golden Laurel for Top General Entertainment
- Won second-place - Golden Laurel for Top Female Supporting Performance (Mary Badham)
- Won second-place - Golden Laurel for Top Male Dramatic Performance (Gregory Peck)
- PGA Hall of Fame - Motion Pictures (Alan J. Pakula)
- WGA Award (Screen) - Best Written American Drama (Horton Foote)
Mary Badham (Scout) and Gregory Peck (Atticus)
in To Kill A Mockingbird (1962).
The Author, Harper Lee
For a few years Harper Lee enjoyed the publicity her novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, gave her. Then she came to her senses and realized she needed some privacy! Since 1964 she's been called 'reclusive' but that term isn't entirely accurate. She was no Boo Radley. Instead, she chose a normal life and not one of a literary celebrity. In recent years she's made a few public appearances, but not many.
She was born on April 28, 1926, and grew up in Monroeville, Alabama. She currently spends her days divided between a New York City apartment and her sister's home in Monroeville. If you want to go there to see the town her novel was based on (though in the novel it is called Maycomb) - beware! The locals will smile, nod their heads, and call you a "Mockingbird Groupie". Hide your camera in shame!
Still, Monroeville knows how to capitalize. Every year they put on a performance of the theatrical version of To Kill A Mockingbird. During the courthouse scene they actually go into the local courthouse and the audience is racially divided just as it was in the novel. But Harper Lee hasn't attended because she doesn't approve of the affair. It is said that "she abhors anything that trades on the book's fame".
You get the picture. She's a talented, intelligent, thoughtful, ethical and high-minded woman who prefers humility to megalomania.
I think I like her style.
[Note: the photo above is of Harper Lee and movie director Alan J. Pakula in approx. 1961 during the filming of To Kill A Mockingbird. This graphic and others on this lens are either in the public domain or are used in accordance with the 'fair use' rules of American copyright law.]
Awards For Harper Lee
- Appointed to the National Council on the Arts - 1966
- Alabama Academy of Honor inducted Harper Lee - 2001
- Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award - 2005
- University of Notre Dame gave Harper Lee an Honorary Doctorate - 2006
- Presidential Medal of Freedom - 2007
I Am Scout: An Unofficial Biography of Harper Lee
(Written without her cooperation.)
My Goodreads.com Review of To Kill A Mockingbird
...Goodreads is a great site for book lovers!
Posted on October 14, 2008
To Kill a Mockingbird: Threatening Boundaries
To Kill A Mockingbird Quiz
Pretend you're a student in school again, and it is time for a quiz. Let's see how much you remember about To Kill A Mockingbird...
To Kill A Mockingbird - About the main character...
About the little girl in the novel, which of the statements below isn't true?
To Kill A Mockingbird - About the father...
About the father in the novel, which of the statements below isn't true?
To Kill A Mockingbird - About the son...
About the little girl's brother in the novel, which of the statements below isn't true?
To Kill A Mockingbird - About Boo Radley...
About Boo Radley in the novel, which of the statements below isn't true?
You can find answers to the quiz questions here.
Read It Like A Writer
Because I write novels, I read like a writer would. As I read I pick out great examples of important story writing elements, such as the following examples...
...an example of great descriptive writing by Harper Lee...
Harper Lee was a master of descriptive writing. You may recognize this passage if you've seen the movie because it was read at the onset of the story.
"Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Mens's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum."
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
...she let you know who her characters were...
Harper Lee managed to show who her characters are by letting you observe their actions and the way others reacted to them.
"We looked down again. Atticus was speaking easily, with the kind of detachment he used when he dictated a letter. He walked slowly up and down in front of the jury, and the jury seemed to be attentive: their heads were up, and they followed Atticus's route with what seemed to be appreciation. I guess is was because Atticus wasn't a thunderer."
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
...you never know what will happen next...
This passage demonstrates how Harper Lee used dialogue between characters to build tension and suspense.
"Why don't you go on home, Scout?"
"What are you gonna do?"
Dill and Jem were simply going to peep in the window with the loose shutter to see if they could get a look at Boo Radley, and if I didn't want to go with them I could go straight home and keep my fat flopping mouth shut, that was all.
"But what in the sam holy hill did you wait till tonight?"
Because nobody could see them at night, because Atticus would be so deep in a book he wouldn't hear the Kingdom coming, because if Boo Radley killed them they'd miss school instead of vacation, and because it was easier to see inside a dark house in the dark than in the daytime, did I understand?
"Scout, I'm tellin' you for the last time, shut your trap or go home--I declare to the Lord you're gettin' more like a girl every day!"
With that, I had no option but to join them.'
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Available for Kindle - ...study guide and a tribute!
More resources to learn about "To Kill A Mockingbird"
- The TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Student Survival Guide
An annotation of Harper Lee's famous novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, this site contains definitions for over 400 words, allusions, and idioms found in the book.
- SparkNotes: To Kill a Mockingbird
A comprehensive analysis of the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
- To Kill a Mockingbird - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - the Wikipedia page.
- GradeSaver: To Kill a Mockingbird - Study Guide
Full summary and analysis of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee written by Harvard students. Includes a biography, and background information on To Kill A Mockingbird.
Beautiful fan site - with a great bio of Harper Lee. It mentions that she's a descendant of General Lee.
- Hiding Harper Lee, by W. A. Bilen
Why Harper Lee doesn't seek the limelight.
- Teacher Lesson Plan - To Kill a Mockingbird - Historical Perspective
This resource for teachers provides lesson plans in which students are guided on a journey through the Depression Era, they become familiar with Southern experiences through the study of To Kill a Mockingbird, and African American experiences through
- SCORE: To Kill A Mockingbird--Teacher Guide
To Kill a Mockingbird depicts the themes of misunderstanding and prejudice. This unit presents an opportunity for students to explore these concepts.
- To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
The 1962 version of the movie - directed by Robert Mulligan. With Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton. Atticus Finch (Peck), a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudi
- To Kill a Mockingbird (1997)
The 1997 version of the movie: directed by Scott Jacoby, Matt Moses. With Bethany Joy Galeotti. Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Summary, Comments, Discussions, Taglines, Trailers, Posters, Fan Sites.
- To Kill A Mockingbird Criticism and Essays
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird - Criticism and Essays.
- To Kill A Mockingbird - At Harper-Collins
The publisher's page for To Kill A Mockingbird.
Thanks for visiting this lens about 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee
Have you read the book? - ...tell us what you thought of it.
Even if you read it years ago and barely remember it, you can tell us what your reactions were - positive or negative.
What did you think of Harper Lee's novel?
Fanstastic! I loved it!
Answers to the Quiz Questions
- Scout did NOT like wearing dresses!
- Atticus never lived in New York City.
- Jem didn't bring home dogs and cats.
- Boo Radley had only one brother - Nathan.
In 1918 Claire Welch, age 9, moves from the San Francisco Bay Area to the coastal town of Eureka, far to the north. She must leave her dearest friend behind.
From there Claire heads toward a difficult life, traveling inland to Happy Camp, a small town in the middle of a huge forest.
Near Happy Camp, in the Klamath River Valley, she faces the pain of loneliness and learns the true meaning of friendship.
For more information see the River Girl website.
Written for children ages 8 through 15, but loved by adults as well.
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