By Justin Udo and Diana Rocco

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Harper Lee’s sequel to the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” hits bookstores Tuesday.

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In anticipation of the release of the book “Go Set a Watchman,” many bookstores across the country are hosting Mockingbird read-a-thons.

Actors from the Media Theatre gathered at the Barnes and Noble in Center City Philadelphia to take part in the 12 hour read-a-thon.

While reading the book they tried to give passersby the feel of a southern town, like the one in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“We’re set up as a southern porch, we have the rattan white rocking chair. We’re passing out fans, we have lemonade, so they’re a little startled to see this on Rittenhouse Square.”

“To Kill a Mockingbird” deals with race relations in America with an emphasis on the south, and many are expecting the same thing from the new novel entitled “Go Set a Watchman.”

“The conversation that the whole nation is going to be having with the release of this book couldn’t be more timely.”

Officials at Barnes and Noble say “Go Set a Watchman” has been on the pre-sale best seller list since the announcement of its release in February.

This novel comes out 55 years after “To Kill a Mockingbird” made its debut.

As CBS 3 Eyewitness News’ Diana Rocco reports, “Go Set a Watchman,” Harper Lee’s much awaited sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” will hit store shelves at midnight.

The books, still boxed, have arrived and Mockingbird fans are counting the minutes.

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“It’s such a moving story and it’s completely culturally relevant to where we are today,” said Grace Gordon.

“I am trying to go into the new book with an open mind and realize that sometimes your heroes do let you down,” said Sarah Sawyers-Lovett.

At Big Blue Marble Bookstore in Mount Airy, Sarah Sawyers-Lovett and Grace Gordon are holding a viewing of “To Kill a Mockingbird” followed by a midnight Read-A-Thon.

“It’s the literary event of my lifetime,” said Sawyers-Lovett.

The manuscript written by Lee before “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been waiting 50 years for publishing. It’s already gained national attention after a chapter was released in which Scout, the now grown-up Jean Louise, finds her father, the beloved 72-year-old Atticus, has attended klan meetings and advocates for segregation.

“It seems that it might shatter the image we had about Atticus.”

In “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Atticus Finch defends a black man falsely accused of rape in the 1930s in Alabama. He was portrayed by Lee as a hero with a strong moral compass. Professor Girigi Nagaswami, Head of the English Department at Philadelphia Community College, says Watchman could change everything.

“At that time it was opening eyes and minds to how we look at race relations.”

“To Kill a Mockingbird” won a Pulitzer and found its way into school curriculums across the country. But it seems Lee may have had more in mind.

“Often there are no clear lines as to what is absolutely right and absolutely wrong in the way you view the world,” said Jonathan Burnham of Lee’s publishing company.

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