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I am Scout : a biography of Harper Lee /

This biography tells the story of how Harper Lee struggled to become an author and created one of the most popular novels of the 20th century. Full description

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Henry Holt and Company, 2008
Edition: First edition.
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To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most widely read novels in American literature. It's also a perennial favorite in highschool English classrooms across the nation. Yet onetime author Harper Lee is a mysterious figure who leads a very private life in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, refusing to give interviews or talk about the novel that made her a household name. Lee's life is as rich as her fiction, from her girlhood as a rebellious tomboy to her days at the University of Alabama and early years as a struggling writer in New York City.

Charles J. Shields is the author of the New York Times bestseller Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee , which he has adapted here for younger readers.What emerges in this riveting portrait is the story of an unconventional, high-spirited woman who drew on her love of writing and her Southern home to create a book that continues to speak to new generations of readers. Anyone who has enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird will appreciate this glimpse into the life of its fascinating author.

I Am Scout is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Review by Booklist Review

Shields' adult portrait of Harper Lee, Mockingbird (2006), is here called a biography of the author of the most widely read American novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. But rather than rewriting that book for youth, Shields has instead lifted material from the portrait (including footnote numbers in the text), with sometimes choppy results. Still, he offers a fascinating look at the unconventional Lee, which captures his elusive subject and her lifelong friend, Truman Capote, and pays strong attention to Lee's part in the writing of Capote's In Cold Blood. Most of what has been left out relates to Lee's personal life for instance, her chaste affair with her agent. Older readers can go directly to the adult book to find out more, but this highly readable offering is well suited to younger readers or those willing to settle for a little less. Shields' formidable research, consisting of hundreds of interviews and examinations of papers and articles, will impress any student who has ever written a term paper.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2008 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-This biography is a reworking of the best-selling Mockingbird (Holt, 2006), adapted for young adults. Shields spotlights Lee's lifelong friendship with Truman Capote and the creation of To Kill a Mockingbird, showing how the publication and success of that book affected the rest of her life. Shields uses previously conducted interviews with Lee and her family, friends, and neighbors. He pulls from books, magazine articles, newspapers, and radio and television interviews to piece together this life story of the notoriously press-shy Lee. The author's clear and appealing style is much the same as in Mockingbird and this adaptation appears to have been not so much edited as streamlined. Photos include Lee, her family, friends, and the famous Hollywood actors who made the film version of her book. I Am Scout moves along at a good pace, and Lee's quiet life makes for a surprisingly fascinating read. Perhaps because Shields is pulling from so many sources, the occasional turn of phrase comes across as oddly formal, but generally, this is an immensely readable, intriguing tale of a quiet, private author.-Geri Diorio, The Ridgefield Library, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHARLES J. SHIELDS is the recipient of a Quill Award Nomination for Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee . He has been a teacher, a reporter for public radio, and a journalist, and is the author of several nonfiction books for young readers. He and his wife reside in Barboursville, Virginia.

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