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July 11, 2010

Happy 50th Anniversary, To Kill a Mockingbird!

to kill a mockingbird 50th anniversary

July 11 is the official anniversary date for "To Kill a Mockingbird," the classic American novel by Harper Lee. It's a great day to recall Boo, Scout, Atticus and the other characters that made the multi-layered story come alive. Wherever Lee is today, I hope she's tipping back a flute of champagne -- and maybe dusting off another manuscript. I'd love to see her produce another novel, even if it's been five decades coming.

By the way, I extended the deadline for our "To Kill a Mockingbird" giveaway, so it would coincide with the anniversary date. So you still have a chance to win HarperCollins' special edition of the novel,
as well as "Scout, Atticus & Boo," a collection of essays by such literary luminaries as Wally Lamb, Oprah Winfrey, James Patterson, Richard Russo and Scott Turow. We'll give away two pairs of the books. To enter to win, just post a comment about your favorite character in TKAM, or about why the book has remained so important after a half-century. I'll pick a winner Monday -- really.

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 9:34 AM | | Comments (11)


I first saw "To Kill a Mockingbird" when I was the age of the character Scout, in the early 1960's. I fell madly in love with Atticus Finch almost immediately and have done so each of the countless times I have seen the film over the years.
Atticus is brave, compassionate, moral, and filled with such gentle strength that to me he is the perfect man.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" will always be a favorite of mine. I would love to see another title from Harper Lee, also. I always lean toward Dill. Not a major player but can't resist that nod to Truman Capote. Despite rumour and innuendo, I believe Lee did author this book. But very faintly in the background you think you hear Capote. Happy Anniversary! Cheers for remembering a good and great friendship, too.

It would be nice to have another Harper Lee novel, wouldn't it? It's tough to decide which is my fave TKAM character, but I'd have to say Atticus Finch. I'm impressed by his wanting to do the right thing, even if it's not the most popular.
I wrote a post about TKAM today, I'm going to add a link to yours to let readers know about your drawing. Thanks!

I find something new each time I read it - the values are timeless, and there are hidden things one misses on the first read. One of the most misunderstood parts of the book is hidden -out in the open - in the last two pages. I say hidden because those two pages encapsulate the message, or the moral of the story. As Harper has said, much of that was stimulated by her childhood experiences while reading her brother's Seckatary Hawkins books. Take a moment and read those two pages again sometime. Most readers do not realize that Seckatary Hawkins was really a series of 1920's books that emphasized that a quitter never wins and a winner never quits. The motto of Seckatary was Fair & Square - that, and other wholesome qualities are emphasized in the Hawkins books as they attempt to instill good moral character, honor, and developing good values in all readers. Maybe this will stimulate an interest for you to find out more about it at, and next TKAM anniversary you might mention it if you do another article.

The novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee touched my life, as it has so many others, when I first read it so many years ago as a young man. It is hard to find adequate words to praise the timeless expression of a novel that holds such true significance, that brings to life the world as seen with a child's eyes and more importantly with a child's heart. To me it is the embodiment of the poet William Wordsworth's search in his epic poem, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" by William Wordsworth, 1807, where he seeks to find the beautiful innocence and clarity in sight, thought and purpose he held in his heart as a young man. I long to find that innocence, that song of the Mockingbird and of Boo, and of the lessons learned and of the timeless hope of what the future will bring. And although the lines of Wordsworth's Poem go on to say "Though nothing can bring back the hour Of spendor in the grass, of glory in the flower", the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Less does that very thing for me each and every time I am blessed to read it.

I first read "To Kill A Mockingbird in 1962 as a senior in high school. Since that time I have read the book at least 10 times and have purchased and watched the movie in vhs and on dvd. Both of my childred and five of my six grandchildren have read the book, watched the movie, or both. (My sixth grandchild is only 3 months old so the tradition has not started for him yet.) All of the characters are so significant that it is hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to choose it would be Scout. Happy Anniversary TKAM!

What an extroardinary book. Will there be a retrospective in any major city. I comend the Baltimore Sun for such quality reporting. It is no wonder it has increased on the integrity front as cited by The Committee for Media and Newspaper Integrity.

It has always been and will always be my favorite novel & movie. They sometimes say..."my, how times have changed," but have they really, as of today 2010? mmmmm. Aloha & Mahalo Ms. Lee from small town Pepeekeo, Hawaii!

I watched the movie last week and realized that, although I had heard the title used so frequently, I had never actually read or watched it (at the age of 56!). I was so moved and inspired after watching it that I spent a couple of hours googling all about the author's life, characters,and actors. The various real life stories surrounding TKAM reaffirm Atticus as my favorite character, because he was so like Lee's own Lawyer father who died during filming. Played by Gregory Peck, Lee gave her late father's gold pocket watch to him and called him Atticus up until his death. Her father and Atticus appeared men with such a myriad of greatness that we would all wish for all women and young men for our daughters. Peck managed to epitomize the two. Atticus is my man! Congratulations Ms Lee.

My favorite character is Harper Lee- who stated that once you've reached the top there's nowhere to go but down- and, like JD Salinger- refused to give into the "marketablitlity sequel" mentality of America and its writers. Bravo Ms. Nelle.

I just finished reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" for the very first time and it was truly mesmerizing! Last week I saw a news clip about the 50th Anniversary and I couldn't wait to read the book. I work in an elementary school library, and encouraging children to read is dear to my heart. Since Scout loved to read and was fascinated with stories, I would have to say that she was my favorite character in the story. She was a strong-willed little girl, but underneath she had a soft heart. She loved her father & brother and was so very proud of them. Most importantly, she accepted & treated everyone equally. Her character innocently sets a fine example of what it means to embrace diversity. After reading the book, I can understand why "To Kill a Mockingbird" has remained an American Classic for 50 years!

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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