MODULE 12: BIOGRAPHY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY
I AM SCOUT: A BIOGRAPHY OF HARPER LEE
Summary: This abridged version of the author’s adult book, Mockingbird, is meant for middle school and high school students. The focus is on the similarities between Harper Lee and her character, Scout. Harper Lee was always reclusive and despised the fame that publishing her novel brought. The book follows Lee has she as deals with her mother’s mental illness and her long and enduring friendship with Truman Capote. The book is very realistic in the details of Lee’s life, despite the audience’s age. For example, Lee’s mother tried to kill her as a child and Truman Capote’s sexuality is not whitewashed. The book is very serious in tone but it is a glimpse into the life of one of the greatest, American authors ever.
Citation: Shields, C. j. (2008). I am scout: A biography of Harper Lee. New York,
NY: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers.
Impression: I found this book to be interesting and informative. Unfortunately, the author doesn’t use many primary sources and this could be due the fact that there aren’t that many available. The book as an abridged version of an adult biography makes the age range appeal smaller than if the work was an original geared toward teens. The serious nature of the book doesn’t’ make it boring, but it is not very fun either.
School Library Journal, 126. Available from School Library Journal website:
Uses: I would use this book for a book club that has read To Kill a Mockingbird. The group could discuss the similarities and differences between Harper Lee’s life and Scout’s in the book . This could also be used for a young writer’s workshop about editing; one could compare Mockingbird to this abridged version and discuss the process of editing and abridgement.