Author: Harper Lee
What To Read Next: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

One of the most iconic works in American literature, To Kill a Mockingbird addresses issues of race, rape, and class but with simple language that any 9th-grader could understand. Which isn't to say that it dumbs anything down. Because it doesn't.

Scout, a young tomboy, navigates growing up in the South during the Depression with her older brother, Jem, and compassionate lawyer father, Atticus. Scout and Jem befriend a neighborhood boy, become fascinated by a recluse neighbor named Boo, and watch as their father defends a black man on trial for raping a white woman. In the process, Scout is changed, as is the reader.

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