Writer Harper Lee, a Southern tomboy much like the fictional Scout Finch, channeled her admiration for her lawyer father into the American classic To Kill a Mockingbird. Family ties, unlikely friendships, and creative struggles are all part of her notable life story.
Awards & Honors
• An ALA Best Book for Young Adults, 2009
Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama. Alongside her friend Truman Capote, young Nelle enjoyed writing stories on a black Underwood typewriter. After graduating high school, she spent time at an all-girls college and at law school before moving to New York to pursue her dream of becoming an author. She would eventually write one of the most beloved American novels of the 20th century and see her creation transformed into an Oscar-winning film.
I am Scout is a YA adaptation of Shields’ previous Harper Lee biography, Mockingbird. It manages to provide a good background on how people and events in her real life inspired To Kill a Mockingbird—but disappointingly, offers no concrete answers as to why Lee never published another novel. An extremely private person, she was interviewed for neither Mockingbird nor I am Scout.
Shields, Charles J. I am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2008.