Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine

Seeing Red

Written by Kathryn Erskine

13+ readers   YA readers   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

From the award-winning author of Mockingbird, this is a powerful and thought-provoking historical novel of family and friendships and the tackling of the important themes of race and responsibility in '70s America in the 'Deep South', but with elements that resonate on a wider scale. Red Porter knows the difference between right and wrong, black and white. But he also knows that for folk in his hometown, Stony Gap, this isn't always clear. With the help of a few unlikely characters however, red realises that while he can't fix the past, he can still change the future and stand up for those who need him most.

This is a great title for book clubs to read, and explore the issues surrounding the civil rights movement. To help with the discussion there are some interesting and provoking questions which you can download here.

There is also an accompanying Author's Note which explores Kathryn's own childhood in South Africa and why she was so compelled to tell Red's story.


Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine

Life will never be the same for Red Porter. He's a kid growing up around black car grease, white fence paint, and the backward attitudes of the folks who live in his hometown: Stony Gap, Virginia. And when Red's daddy dies, he's left with his younger brother, his mama, and some hard decisions. With their money dwindling, Red does everything he can to keep the family business - a gas station, repair shop and convenience store - afloat. But when he uncovers some of the racial injustices that have been happening in Stony Gap since before he was born, Red is faced with unsettling questions about the legacy behind his family's shop, and everything he's fighting for...And through his friendships with some unlikely characters, Red starts to see there's a whole lot more than car motors and rusty fenders that need fixing in his world.


“This wonderful story offers lots to think about.” - Marilyn Brocklehurst, The Bookseller

“This is an important book.” - Booklist

Praise for Mockingbird

“Kathryn Erskine’s evocation of “Asperger thinking” is impressive and sensitively managed.” – The Guardian

“A sensitively written and very moving story.” – The Daily Mail

“Well observed.” – Independent on Sunday

“An exceptionally moving story.” – Irish Examiner

“An insightful and poignant novel.” – We Love This Book

“Original and compelling.” – School Librarian Journal

“This is a book which definitely brings insight and understanding.” – Booktrust

About the Author

Kathryn Erskine

Kathryn Erskine grew up country-hopping, living in the Netherlands, Israel, South Africa and Scotland before finally settling in Virginia, USA. After working as a lawyer for fifteen years, Kathryn realised that her real passion lay in writing. Mockingbird, her first novel to be published in the UK, won an American National Book Award in 2011.

Click here to learn more about Kathryn in a Q&A and download discussion questions/readers' notes for Mockingbird.

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Book Info


384 pages
Interest Age: 14+


Kathryn Erskine
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Usborne Publishing Ltd

Publication date

1st February 2014




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