I am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee

I Am Scout:  The Biography of Harper Lee

By Charles J. Sheilds

New York  Henry Holt     2008     246p.

 TAG:  Too Good to be True Nonfiction

Charles Shields, a New York Times best seller author for his adult version of Harper Lee’s Biography entitled, Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee has adapted the book for young adults.  I Am Scout is filled with wonderful facts about Nelle Harper Lee’s life.  The book looks at the life of a child from a dysfunctional family (distant dad and bipolar mother), her playmate and lifelong friend Truman Capote, her attempts at Law School to please her father and finally to her love for writing which become the focus of her life and the focus for this book.  Harper Lee wrote about what she knew best—the story of her life.  The characters, the setting, the rape case all were colored by her past yet writing Mockingbird did not come easy.


She did at least three re-writes of the story; first told in first person, then in third person and finally in blended first person.  I Am Scout gently unfolds her story as it reads like a novel.  Teens who have read, To Kill a Mockingbird, will enjoy reading Harper Lee’s biography as they can map out the parallels between the two books and will draw upon the even deeper story of the all time classic To Kill a Mockingbird.  The cover art is of a typewriter and a tire swing which may not be appealing to the younger teen but will be meaningful to the older teen readers.


Quality 4Q     Popularity  4P       Grade  MJS

Website:  http://www.charlesjshields.com/content/index.asp 


Extended Activities:  Compare TKM characters to their real-life model.





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