Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird

illus. by Erin McGuire. 40p. bibliog. further reading. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062456700.
K-Gr 2—Nelle Harper Lee discovered the power of words at a very young age: "Words had weight. Words held meaning." Growing up in her small Alabama town, Lee subverted traditional gender expectations and enjoyed reading, writing and watching her attorney father work. When a boy named Truman Capote, who grew up to become a famous author in his own right, temporarily moved into the house next door, the two became fast friends and spent time in her tree house creating stories on a typewriter her father gave them. Hegedus's picture book biography tells how Lee wrote a still much beloved novel by basing her main character, Atticus Finch, on her father and using people from her childhood as a source for other characters. Digital illustrations, created using Adobe Photoshop, admirably show Lee's experiences in Alabama and in New York City. A variety of visual perspectives and faces that portray emotions add much to this informational book of a prominent U.S. author.
VERDICT Consider for picture book biography collections, especially where there is interest in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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