Mockingbird Summer

Written by Lynda Rutledge
Review by Linda Harris Sittig

Kate Corcoran, a.k.a. Corky, has just turned 13 during the summer of 1964. Growing up in segregated High Cotton, Texas, Corky has never really thought about racism or discrimination. But then she reads To Kill a Mockingbird and starts questioning many ideas raised in the novel. At the same time, her mother hires a Haitian housekeeper who brings her 16-year-old daughter, America, with her. Corky wants to be friends with America and shares To Kill a Mockingbird, but then becomes confused when America reacts entirely differently to the book.

As their friendship grows, Corky discovers America’s impressive athletic abilities. When she insists that America join the church softball team, she is surprised at America’s reticence. Corky does not realize the enormity of this act, but many residents of High Cotton are incensed with the idea of a Black girl joining the all-white softball team. The summer progresses and tensions in the town rise until the climactic ending of the book when Corky learns the true ugliness of racism and how it changes her life forever.

This is a well-thought-out book with a plot that keeps the reader engaged and presents realistic situations from the early Civil Rights Movement. The characters are complex and the depiction of racism only furthers the reader’s compassion for such hateful actions. Highly recommended.