To Kill a Mockingbird…Continued

Noa Rosenberg Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 5.18.37 PM Over the course of a lifetime, there are certain books that stick with people. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is one of these. It has been announced recently that, over 50 years following its original publication date, a sequel to the book entitled Go Set a Watchman is to be released this summer. The story will follow an older Scout returning to Maycomb, Alabama to visit her father, Atticus. This addition to the series has sparked much discussion and debate. Ms. Kloehn, a middle school teacher whose eighth grade class reads To Kill a Mockingbird as part of their studies, had much to say on the topic. “My whole curriculum has so much to do with this,” she mused. The work done in the eighth grade is interdisciplinary and so while the classes are reading the novel, they are also learning about the time period of the novel and coming in with background knowledge in the subjects they will be discussing alongside the it. Ms. Kloehn sees the text as something that is not confined to any age for teaching. “I think it transcends grade level… I think that you could teach it different ways at different levels,” she says, citing how the book could be taken from the perspective of an academic study to looking at reparations and hierarchy, which she mentioned would be a focus this year. “It’s going to be an interesting year, and it’s even more fascinating with the release of this book,” she stated. When asked about how she felt towards the upcoming sequel Ms. Kloehn said, “I will read it, I am deeply curious,” she then told the story of how, in fact, the new addition to the story of Scout was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, but Lee’s editor had told her to focus instead on the protagonist’s childhood. She also mentioned that the writing process was not easy for Lee; she even took to throwing an early draft of the text into the snowy New York streets. Luckily for everyone, she stuck with it and To Kill a Mockingbird has become one of the greatest literary successes of all time. As for Go Set a Watchman, with it already holding the top spot on the Amazon best seller list and five months to go until its release, it is easily one of the most anticipated books of 2015. And Ms. Kloehn is on the pre-order list alongside all those most excited.  ]]>