It took me a while to decide on the answer to this question. It wasn’t which book to choose that stumped me. The answer to that came easily. I wanted to eat lunch with someone from Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird.
Of all the books I read in school, this was the one that always stayed with me. No, the difficult part was deciding which of Lee’s characters to sit down and eat my PB & J with. Lee created so many wonderful, unique and inspiring characters. Did I want to eat with Scout, the story’s youthful narrator who tried to see the best in everyone?
Or maybe I would want to eat with Boo, the mysterious recluse next-door. I even considered Mayella Ewell, the young woman who falsely accused a black man on rape. Could we discuss who her role as a woman at the time led to her insecurities and the destructive path she took?
In the end though, I chose the world-weary Atticus Finch who stands as a hero and role model to so many who read Lee’s work. Atticus is a single father, lawyer, and philanthropist. We see how deeply he cares for all men and women from the very beginning of the novel. He raises his children to be accepting of those who are different from them, and to be kind to others. Both in his personal life and his work life, Atticus strove for fairness and equality for all people. By defending Tom Robinson, a black man, he makes his stance on the matter clear.
I would love to talk to Atticus about the racial tensions that still linger in our country today. I wonder what Atticus would have to say about the Black Lives Matter movement or the current election campaigns. How would he feel about the fact that the country elected its first black president? While much has changed since the time of the novel, there is still so much we can learn from its characters, including Atticus, a white man who stood up and supported the rights of a man thought less by others, due to the color of his skin. Many could learn from the example he set, and I, for one, would love to hear his thoughts on the matter.Sharing a sandwich with him would just be a bonus.
∼ Amy, NL Teen Librarian