Cover image for I kill the mockingbird
I kill the mockingbird
Acampora, Paul.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Roaring Brook Press, 2014.
Physical Description:
166 pages ; 22 cm
"When best friends Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list, they are excited to see To Kill A Mockingbird included. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm. So they hatch a plot to get the entire town talking about the well-known Harper Lee classic"--
Reading Level:
640 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.1 5.0 170140.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 3.7 9 Quiz: 65396.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

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When Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list, they are excited to see To Kill A Mockingbird included. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm. So they hatch a plot to get the entire town talking about the well-known Harper Lee classic. They plan controversial ways to get people to read the book, including re-shelving copies of the book in bookstores so that people think they are missing and starting a website committed to "destroying the mockingbird." Their efforts are successful when all of the hullabaloo starts to direct more people to the book. But soon, their exploits start to spin out of control and they unwittingly start a mini revolution in the name of books.

This title has Common Core connections.

Author Notes

Paul Acampora is an avid reader, an enthusiastic dad, and a ferocious fan of being human. Paul lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two kids. Paul is a frequent contributor to the Scholastic Storyworks magazine. I Kill the Mockingbird is his third novel for young readers.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

It really begins with the death of everybody's favorite eighth-grade English teacher, Mr. Nowak. Affectionately dubbed Fat Bob because he was as wide as he was tall (and he was very tall), the teacher had assigned only one book as summer reading the previous year, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Now, best friends Lucy, Elena, and Michael vow to find a way to memorialize Fat Bob by insuring that everybody will want to read the modern classic. Their plan: make the book desirable by making it scarce. Their strategy: visit every library and bookstore in the area and hide all copies of the book, then publicize their campaign with posters and a website proclaiming, I Kill the Mockingbird. Will the kids succeed? Will Lucy and Michael's friendship blossom into something more? Will Lucy's mom, whose cancer is in remission, ever learn to eat healthfully? Acampora's well-­written, resolutely cheerful offering celebrates books, reading, and life, and that is surely enough to satisfy the most jaded reader.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this quick, witty novel, narrator Lucy and her bibliophile best friends Elena and Michael embark on a campaign of literary rebellion in an attempt to compel fellow students to read To Kill a Mockingbird over the summer. Their plan? Hide copies of Harper Lee's classic novel in local bookstores and libraries, which will promote a false sense of scarcity and increase demand. "It's not stealing," says Lucy in defense of the idea. "It's shrinkage." They also orchestrate an accompanying social media campaign, and before long the friends' brand of "literary terrorism" has grown out of their control. Acampora (Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in the Face) layers the novel with emotional nuance, as Lucy worries about her mother who recently beat cancer, and the friends contend with emerging romantic tension between Lucy and Michael. Strong characters bolster the narrative, including Elena's outspoken indie bookstore owner Uncle Mort. This strong novel stands on its own as a testament to the power of reverse psychology, but will resonate with fans of the original Mockingbird and maybe inspire a few to check it out. Ages 10-14. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-The past year had been an emotional one for 13-year-old Lucy: her favorite English teacher collapsed and died next to her in line at the school cafeteria, and her mother almost died from cancer and is slowly recovering. Through it all, Lucy's friends Elena and Michael have stood by her. Now it's time for summer break and the new English teacher hands out a list of required summer reading. Lucy's favorite, To Kill a Mockingbird, is on the list. Lucy wants everyone to read this great book, and hatches a plan with her friends that will "go viral" in a way far beyond what she could imagine. Meanwhile, Lucy tries not to worry about her mother-it's hard for the teen to believe that her mother, who was once told she had only a few weeks to live, is actually well. Lucy's also coming to the realization that Michael may be more than a friend, and wonders if she's ready for all the challenges that high school will bring. Funny, poignant, and quirky, I Kill the Mockingbird will appeal to today's middle schoolers who are tech-savvy, literate, and idealistic. Acampora has developed likable characters that readers will relate to; they will cheer as Lucy, Elena, and Michael work together and amaze even themselves with their courage and conviction.-Kathy Kirchoefer, Henderson County Public Library, NC (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



1 The Queen of England Is in Our Bathroom My mother's wheelchair does not fit through the bathroom door, and I don't know what to do about it. I pull the chair back an inch and then roll it into the door frame again. The clunk makes Mom sit up straight. "You have got to be kidding me," she says. Actually, these are not her exact words. I am not allowed to repeat her exact words. "Don't worry," says Dad, who stands inside the bathroom, ready to give Mom a hand. "We'll figure something out." This is the first time my mother has been home from the West Glover Hospital in over a month. They only let her leave because she promised to stay off her feet for at least forty-eight hours. I put my hand on Mom's shoulder. "What if we turn it around and back it in?" "Lucy," Mom says to me, "width is not a function of vector." Mom studied math in college. She's a professional photographer now, but she's always finding ways to work things like vectors and differentials and Hilbert curves into conversation. I rarely know what she's talking about. "We don't have vectors in our math," Elena calls from the kitchen. "We'll get to them in high school," says Michael, who is in the kitchen, too. Michael Buskirk and Elena Vallejo are my best friends. They were both on the front lawn waiting to greet Mom when we got back from the hospital. The three of us met back in kindergarten when Elena was a black-haired bulldozer in a pink dress and a leg brace, and Michael was a quiet skinny boy in short pants and Space Invader T-shirts. Now we are all in the eighth grade at St. Brigid's Catholic School, where my dad is our principal. Elena sighs. "Vectors and high school," she says. "I can't wait." Elena is certain that high school is going to swallow us up, spit us out, and crush us like bugs. It's because she still looks like a little doll that Santa Claus would leave beneath a Christmas tree. I resemble one of those gawky stuffed giraffes that nobody ever wins at the carnival, but Michael is over six feet tall. He's strong and easygoing with dark hair and brown eyes that match the color of his skin. I think he's the best-looking boy in our school. He lives just across the street from me, so I see him enough to know that I'm right. "Elena," Dad shouts from the bathroom. "Please stop worrying about high school. It's months away, and it's going to be fine." "How do you know?" she yells back at him. "It's one of the things they teach you in principal school," he tells her. "He's got you there," Michael says to Elena. "In the meantime," says Mom, "I still really have to pee." A few wisps of thin, brown hair have escaped the paisley scarf wrapped around her head. Dark circles beneath her eyes make it look like she's been punched in the face. Cancer will do that to you. Dad examines the doorway leading into the bathroom. "We'll get another inch of clearance if I take the door off the frame." At school, I've seen him unclog toilets, mop up vomit, set a broken bone, and rescue a wide variety of rodents, snakes, amphibians, and other classroom pets without even loosening his tie. Popping a door off its hinges is not going to be a problem. Michael hops off the kitchen counter. "I'll get the toolbox." "There's a screwdriver in the junk drawer," says Elena. The two of them know where everything is. They've pretty much grown up in our house, and sometimes we're more like family than friends. I love having Elena as a sister, but lately I'm thinking it might be nice if Michael were a little less brotherly and a little more friendly. That's another door I don't know how to get through. "How about we just do this?" says Mom. Without waiting for an answer, she places both hands on the wheelchair's armrests and pushes herself into a standing position. "Whoa!" I say. Dad quickly reaches an arm around Mom's waist then takes her hand. "May I have this dance?" he asks. Mom takes a breath. "Lead me to the toilet first." My parents say it's the everyday moments--folding laundry, washing dishes, pouring each other a cup of coffee--that make their marriage a good one. I know they're right, but I'm hoping for something a little more romantic than a stroll into the bathroom one day. With Dad's help, Mom takes a small step forward. "Are you okay?" I ask her. Mom takes another step then places a free hand on the sand dollars and sea fans and junonias that decorate our bathroom wallpaper. "I'm happy to be home." "And cancer free," says Dad. She nods. "That too." A year ago, the doctors explained that Mom's disease--something with a name that sounded like angie-mumbo-jumbo-plastic-lycanthrope --was rare, aggressive, and generally fatal. In other words, she had a roughly zero chance to live. Even I understood that math. A week ago, those same doctors announced that she was cured. "How is that possible?" I asked. The doctors shrugged. Sometimes, they told Dad and me, it just happens. Afterward, one of Mom's nurses found us in the hospital corridor. "God heard your prayers," she said. "That's how it happened." It's true that we'd been doing a lot of praying, but until now it didn't seem like anybody was really listening. "I don't know about that," I said. "God heard you," the nurse said again. "It's a miracle." And then she burst into tears. Neither Dad nor I backed away. I think it's because we both spend our days in Catholic school. That's where you learn that faithful people can be a little insane sometimes. On the other hand, is it more sensible to accept that everything is random or is it better to believe that God can step in occasionally and repair your T cells? I don't know. Either way, Mom is on her feet now. She's moving forward with Dad on her arm as if they are about to meet the Queen of England in our bathroom. Mom even offers dainty royal wrist waves as she exits the hallway. This should be funny, but I don't laugh. I suppose this is the result of even more Catholic school stuff filling up my head. We're taught that sometimes the world is a puzzle waiting for us to solve it. Other times it's a mystery to appreciate and accept. Right now I think my family, my friends--maybe even my whole life--are a whole lot of both. Text copyright © 2014 by Paul Acampora Excerpted from I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.