By Erin Vehige, Teacher Resources; and Sean Binkley, Regional Accounts

Booksource Book Club invites you to read along with us. Every month or so (depending on the size of the book) a group of us book nerds gather to talk about a book we’ve all read. Now we want you to join in the fun! We’ll start by giving you an update of our last book talk and let you know our next pick. Please join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts.

In January we discussed, I Kill the Mockingbird. Here’s what we thought:

Here at Booksource, we all have an affinity for To Kill a Mockingbird, whether it’s because it is our all-time favorite or it’s because it has been Booksource’s top seller every year for I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acamporawhat seems like forever. So we jumped on the chance to read Paul Acampora’s first book inspired by one of the literary greats.

While many of us found the premise of the plot to be campy and sensationalized, we could all agree that I Kill the Mockingbird is a great resource that any book-loving kid can use to build an incredible reading list of diverse titles. More than 20 different stories were mentioned or read by the middle-school-age characters, from E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web to Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (A complete list of titles mentioned in the book can be found below).

We talked about how Acampora’s characters embody the kind of reading that Donalyn Miller advocates in her book Reading in the Wild. Lucy, Michael and Elena truly are wild readers, discussing favorite titles, sharing book recommendations and generally just reading everywhere. All of which makes I Kill the Mockingbird work great as a mentor text for showcasing a reading culture. And because the trio appear young, fun and approachable while throwing book titles around, I Kill the Mockingbird actually makes being a book nerd look accessible and attractive, giving non-bookish kids a sort of initiation into the culture of reading. This is why we think ELA teachers everywhere are in love with this text and will be for a long time.

Charlottes Web - E.B. White Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

However, there are many references to topics and details in I Kill the Mockingbird that we felt could have been expanded upon further. Because of this, though, the focus is really on Lucy, Michael and Elena’s passion for creating a revolution of readers. And we decided these subjects that readers find lacking detail could potentially be jumping-off points for research projects or for sparking deeper conversations about death, grief, religion, racism, revolutions, etc.

Lastly, because we are a book company, we couldn’t help but feel endeared to Mort, especially when he says, “It’s the books that have the power, but a good bookstore will influence what a person chooses to read” (40).

Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller Shark Wars by EJ Altbacker Greenglass House by Kate Milford

One of the best reasons we love our book club is that even when you don’t really like a book, someone else might, and even when you’ve read the best book of your life, someone else probably abandoned it. Lucy sums that sentiment up nicely when she says, “…Elena and Michael tease me about my love for Shark Wars, but I don’t care what they think. Talking sharks are cool, and not every book has to be a classic” (118). I Kill the Mockingbird might not be an instant classic, but it’s worth a read in the classroom or during summer break. Who knows, your students just might start their own reading revolution.

So, what do you think? Join the conversation by commenting below! And join us in March for our discussion about Greenglass House.


Titles mentioned in I Kill the Mockingbird:


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Twain, Mark
Babe, The Gallant Pig King-Smith, Dick
Because of Winn-Dixie DiCamillo, Kate
Charlotte’s Web White, E. B.
David Copperfield Dickens, Charles
Ella Enchanted Levine, Gail Carson
Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree Tarshis, Lauren
Ender’s Game Card, Orson Scott
Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury, Ray
Franny and Zooey Salinger, J. D.
The Giver Lowry, Lois
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Rowling, J. K.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Dr. Seuss
Lassie Come Home Wells, Rosemary
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy Schmidt, Gary D.
The Lorax Dr. Seuss
Moby-Dick Melville, Herman
Officer Buckle and Gloria Rathmann, Peggy
The Phantom Tollbooth Juster, Norton
Pictures of Hollis Woods Giff, Patricia Reilly
Shark Wars Altbacker, E. J.
The Tiger Rising DiCamillo, Kate
To Kill a Mockingbird Lee, Harper
The View from Saturday Konigsburg, E. L.
War Horse Morpurgo, Michael
The Wizard of Oz Baum, L. Frank