Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Would You Say to Harper Lee on the 50th Anniversary of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD?

July 2010 will be the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird. I remember reading Harper Lee's book in the sixth grade--and my teacher told us it was one of her favorite books. I know many teachers feel the same way.

Now is your chance to tell Harper Lee what you've always wanted her to know about your experience with her book in your classroom. If you make a comment here--it might end up in the next edition of To Kill a Mockingbird. Make certain to include your name and school.


  1. I have taught TKM for 9 years, to approximately 1045 students. And STILL, every time, I get a shiver up my spine when I read, "Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'." I can't even type those words without my eyes tearing up.
    Those 1045 students have learned what "walking in someone else's skin" is all about--from Boo Radley and Tom Robinson, and of course, Scout most of all.

    Polly Kampsen
    Annandale High School
    Annandale, MN

  2. Some line or scene from To Kill a Mockingbird crosses my mind every day, and it's been that way for decades.

    When my young relatives turn thirteen, their birthday gifts include a nice hardcover copy of my favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Gary Anderson
    William Fremd High School
    Palatine, Illinois

  3. Last year, I had the opportunity to speak about the continued relevance of To Kill a Mockingbird at The Big Read festival in Saint Louis, MO. If you are interested, the post is called "48 Years Have Passed" and the blog is


  4. To make you understand how important this book is to me, I would have to take you along with me through everything I've done and saide since I first read this book over twenty-five years ago. Especially important to me is the opportunity I've had over the last twelve years to share this treasure with students. My primary hope is that kids understand what a gift this book is, what a beautiful map to living wisely Harper Lee has given us.

    Ivy Nielsen
    Solon High School
    Solon, Iowa

  5. This book has been a favorite since I first read it in middle school. The class discussions even then were lively and so enthusiastic. I remember when we watched the movie, that we all stayed after the bell rang to finish the last five or so minutes. We just couldn't stand saying goodbye to that book.

    As a teacher, I was ecstatic to teach this to my ninth grade students. I was teaching in North Carolina at the time, and it was so nice to see these students recognize something of themselves and their culture in To Kill a Mockingbird. My favorite speech is Atticus' closing statement. It is so well-written and just plain powerful. My favorite moments are when Scout diffuses the mob at the jail by talking to Mr. Cunningham and when Scout greets Boo for the first time.

    It is the rare book that touches students as deeply as To Kill a Mockingbird does. I am so honored to be able to bring that experience to my students.

    Shannon Wymer
    Wheeler High School
    North Stonington, Connecticut

  6. Like Ivy, I could never summarize how much this book has meant to me over the years. After first reading it over 20 years ago in my junior English class, I have made a point of reading it at least once every year, for the beauty of it and as a reminder to always look at life from all perspectives.

    I never tire of reading this book out loud to my students year after year. I can not even imagine what my job would be like if I didn't get the opportunity to share this with my students. (Time to find a new one, I'm sure!) From the bottom of my heart, I thank Miss Lee for writing To Kill a Mockingbird and giving us such remarkable role models like Atticus Finch, Maudie Atkinson, Tom Robinson, and Boo Radley who show us each and every day how to treat one another.

    Tracee Orman
    Erie High School
    Erie, Illinois

  7. "I read this book a few years ago and learned lessons about the right and wrong things to do as a child. I read this book over the last few weeks a(nd) learned lessons on how to be an empathetic and accepting person. I plan on reading this book again as an adult and learning how to be a better parent."

    From a 9th-grade essay
    Solon High School
    Solon, Iowa

  8. I think that almost every answer to life can be found in To Kill a Mockingbird. Boo is my favorite character. Not because he is one of the mockingbirds but he also represents surprise and wonder. He is the angel we all need to protect us. In my garden is a Boo Radley hole (aka the boohole) where, just like Boo, I put treasures in for the kids to find. The difference is, as Scout wished, that the kids put back treasures for others to find. A neighborhood of children are growing up knowing what it's like to give for the sake of giving. Thank you, Harper Lee. "Thank you for my children."
    Marsha Gaspari
    Charlotte, NC