Growing up I wouldn’t touch a book with a female narrator if my life (or grade) depended on it. Seems I’ve gotten over that affliction with my recent middle grade titles. Since January I’ve been touched by the lives of Star Mackie in HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL, Emily Elizabeth Davis in DESTINY, REWRITTEN, and Eleanor Groovy Robinson in THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY. Each of these girls has a strong voice and a difficult relationship with their father. The sad, but hopeful tales of these young heroines took it’s most dramatic turn with Harper Lee Morgan in ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER.
PUBLICATION DATE:2009 LEVEL: 5.1 WORD COUNT: 47,302
FULL PLOT (From Amazon): Harper Lee Morgan is an aspiring poet, which isn’t surprising, seeing as how she’s named after her mama’s favorite writer, Harper Lee. And life is giving her a lot to write about just now. Daddy up and walked out, leaving them broke. Then Harper’s family gets evicted. With Mama scrambling to find work, Harper has to skip school to care for her little brother, Hemingway. Their lives have been turned upside down, which Harper could just about handle—if it wasn’t for the writing contest at school. If only she could get up on that stage and read her poems out loud . . .
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER
- Harper loves to write poetry and many of her best are scattered throughout the pages. They bring understanding to Harper’s homeless and fatherless world. They can be heart wrenching to read, but then you realize how much good they do for Harper.
- The face of poverty hits hard. Many families in every city across our great country live like this – wondering where they’re going to sleep, take a bath, or find food for the next day. Harper Lee’s words will give you understanding and empathy to those who have found a few bumps in life’s road.
- The characters all come to life thanks to the marvelous characterization. LIttle brother, Hem, who waits outside every day with an eye on the dad he wants to have home again; Lorraine, a friend, who can’t talk but has such a strong voice; The Mom, doing everything possible to get a job but knowing she is putting a lot of responsibility on Harper; and Winnie, the ultimate know-it-all classmate who also has her own journey of change
- This would be a great read for a 5th/6th reading group or for a book club. The themes demand to be discussed and I was left to think about the story on my own. It was helpful to read the Goodreads and Amazon reviews and find what others felt about the experiences of Harper Lee.
- ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER LEE is a quiet book with a great story. You won’t find much action, but sometimes that is just the type of book you need.
I sat down on the toilet and closed my eyes and tried to pretend I was back in my old bedroom. Before it ended up on our front lawn.
Now I need a break from this type of story. Something funny and upbeat. I’ve got many on my TBR list to choose from.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.