Sunday, September 19, 2010

Book Review: The Mockingbird Parables

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is a book I've looked forward to sharing with my children.  It is actually part of Sonlight Core 100 (American history at a high school level), so Connor will be reading it next year.

When I saw, The Mockingbird Parables by Matt Litton, and read a bit about him and the book, I knew I wanted to read it to prepare for deeper discussions with my boys.

Litton starts the book off by telling us about his background with To Kill a Mockingbird, and the first time he heard the story.  How it captivated him, and how he has returned to the novel again and again, and how he currently returns to it with his students year after year.  How as he got older, he started seeing far more spiritual significance in the story.  And those spiritual stories -- parables -- are what led to this book.

Chapters focus on a character, or an event, and what that means to our present society, particularly believers.  Some of the chapter titles:
  • The Parable of Atticus Finch: The Model of Christian Courage
  • The Parable of the Missionary Tea: Our Responsibility to the Global Neighborhood
  • The Parable of Raising Jem and Scout Finch: Parenting for Compassion
  • The Parable of the Great Depression: The Christian Ethic of Financial Responsibility
You can see that Litton is covering a lot of ground with the stories he pulls from the book.  He talks about the scenes from To Kill a Mockingbird with great familiarity -- if you haven't read it, or don't remember much from your high school English class, you might want to re-read the novel first.

Litton not only pulls from the novel, but he talks about how he has been influenced by the characters and situations throughout his life.  What I loved most was some of his reflections on how he saw things as a young teen,  vs. what he thought as a college student, vs. what he thought as a parent.  I loved
how how this "felt" -- you know, what you get out of the book is going to change with time and life experiences.

This has made me really anxious to get a bit further in our studies so I can have conversations with Connor.  Questions in the study guide in the back include ones like "How can we learn more about God and ourselves by spending time outdoors?" or "How does your faith affect or transform our definition of courage?"

I enjoyed this book.  It was a pretty easy read, which I needed after some of the fairly intense stuff I've been reading lately.  Maybe a bit too easy, actually.  Much of the scripture quotations use The Message, which is not my favorite version of the Bible, or even one I generally consider acceptable.  (He does also quote the NIV, NASB, and NKJV.)  In spite of being easy to read, it still challenged me -- am I a positive influence on my society?  

Disclaimer:   I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers.  No other compensation was received.  The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.


Kara said...

Sounds interesting. I'm going to have to take a closer look at this one! I didn't realize it was part of Core 100.

Tess said...

You're making me wish I had this last year for BooBear. I think it would be good for Turtlegirl, what do you think?

Debra said...

Kara -- yeah, To Kill a Mockingbird is coming up fast in my household! I can't believe I'm actually to the point of Core 100 being "soon" as in possibly even we'd start it this year.

Tess -- well, I haven't looked at what the SL IG has for Mockingbird, and I'm not sure my ancient IG is a good indicator. But I am really excited to use this with Connor next year. I guess even if the IG materials are excellent, it would be nice to change it up a bit.

One aspect I like about Mockingbird Parables, too, for my kids is that the author is addressing how he saw thing when he read it as a teen -- and how he interprets those events and characters NOW. I think that the way he writes this book is really going to aid my kids in seeing a story from multiple points of view -- and maybe even understanding how one person can have multiple points of view over time.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of using this with my kids. :)