Why teach To Kill a Mockingbird?

“Why teach To Kill a Mockingbird?” might be the wrong question – this is one of the most widely taught books around. A better question is: why you should teach To Kill a Mockingbird using this guide?

This novel is a canonical story about discrimination and segregation in the Jim Crow American South – but that is an American story. Failure to learn about Canada’s history in this time leaves students ill-equipped to have discussions about our history on our own terms, learn the lessons distinct to our history, and to take pride in those who fought for equal rights in Canada.

This guide pairs the relatively straightforward story of To Kill a Mockingbird with suggestions for Socratic discussion and collaborative learning to deal with significant, ambiguous, or challenging passages, short answer exercise sheets, and in-class discussion about the text. But it takes these resources and pairs them with resources detailing Canada’s history of segregation and civil rights movement, information about significant African-Canadians, and challenges to social change. Students are encouraged to draw parallels and find differences between the American story – which they’re likely to know better – and our Canadian past.

To Kill a Mockingbird Study Guide

Exercise Sheets

Chapter 1-6 Exercises

Chapter 7-11 Exercises

Chapter 12-16 Exercises

Chapter 17-21 Exercises

Chapter 22-31 Exercises


The history of prejudice and racism

Prejudice and Discrimination in Canada – The Canadian Encyclopedia

Black History Canada: Timeline

What was Jim Crow


Segregation in Canada

Canada’s forgotten history of segregation (Toronto Star Touch)

Racial segregation in interactive social science and history web

The end of segregation in Canada


Black towns and neighbourhoods in the U.S. and Canada

The Elgin Settlement – Buxton, Ontario

Black Bottom Neighborhood _ Detroit Historical Society

Settlements in Canada _ Underground Railroad _ PBS

CBC Rewind: Africville: A Community Destroyed (with one hour audio episode and text)

Africville – The Canadian Encyclopedia


The civil rights movement in Canada

Civil rights leaders in Canada:

National Film Board film (free online): Journey to Justice (47:03)

Stanley Grizzle

Stanley Grizzle, black WWII veteran, devoted life to fighting racism (CBC News)

A Man of Many Firsts – Stanley Grizzle

The Memory Project – Stanley Grizzle

Ray Lewis

August 1932_ Ray Lewis becomes first Canadian black athlete to win Olympic medal

Shadow Running_ Ray Lewis, Canadian Railway Porter and Olympic Athlete _ Quill and Quire

Fred Christie

Racial discrimination – the Fred Christie case

This Canadian Stood Up to Racism Before Rosa Parks – Rachel Décoste

Viola Desmond

Viola Desmond – The Canadian Encyclopedia

Text: Heritage Minute – Viola Desmond (Historica Canada)

Video: Viola Desmond – Heritage Minute

The Globe and Mail_ Segregation in Nova Scotia (Viola Desmond)

Hugh Burnett

Hugh Burnett: Shaping Civil Rights in Canada (CBC: The Current)