To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1960 novel by Harper Lee. The novel became instantly successful. In the United States, it is widely read in high schools and middle schools. To Kill a Mockingbird has become a classic of modern American literature. As a Southern Gothic and Bildungsroman novel, the primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. The book teaches tolerance and condemns prejudice.