Mockingbird is a story of loss and recovery. It also addresses the condition of Asperger's and adds an amazing element to the story. The main character in this story is Caitlin. Caitlin's brother, Devon, was one of three victims killed by a school shooter. His death leaves Caitlin and their father alone to pick up the pieces and make some sense of what is left.
Being able to mourn and share their grief is complicated by the fact that eleven-year-old Caitlin has a condition known as Asperger's syndrome. She does not recognize most social clues that moderate normal behaviour. Unable to interpret simple facial expressions leaves her clueless about how to interact with others. Devon has always bridged the gap between his little sister and the rest of the world, but he is no longer there to help.
Caitlin gets some help from Mrs. Brook, a counsellor at her school. They spend time every day working on social skills, manners, and what Mrs. Brook calls empathy. Caitlin's very literal approach to situations makes her a target for taunting and teasing that only aggravates the problem. Now, learning to grieve her brother's death is also an important part of her daily therapy.
I would recommend this story to children in Year 5 or 6. I would especially encourage this if there was a child with Asperger's in the class and children weren’t able to understand the condition.