To Kill a Mockingbird
The plot and characters are loosely based on the author's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old.
The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The narrator's father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers.
"In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism."
Lee spent two and a half years writing To Kill a Mockingbird. A description of the book's creation by the National Endowment for the Arts relates an episode when Lee became so frustrated that she tossed the manuscript out the window into the snow. Her agent made her retrieve it. The book was published on July 11, 1960. It was initially titled Atticus, but Lee renamed it to reflect a story that went beyond a character portrait.