ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

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. 9780805088816

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 . . .


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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13 Responses to ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. I try to get all of my students to read diversely, and the boys really will read a lot more books about girls when encouraged to do so. They miss a lot otherwise!

  2. Creative title. Love it! I also love that poetry is highlighted in this MG. Very important element of writing, one I personally don’t dabble in enough. Thank you so much for sharing this one!

  3. Barbara Watson says:

    Quiet stories are some of my favorites. They allow readers to see themselves, and if not themselves, then someone different and worth knowing. And they allow everyone a brain break from a fast-paced world.

  4. warrchick says:

    This sounds really intriguing, and I love the idea of getting to know Harper better through her poetry. Thanks for the recommend!

  5. Janet Smart says:

    Sounds interesting. I like poetry, too, and I think it helps with my writing.

  6. jennienzor says:

    This sounds interesting. There’s not a lot of books featuring homeless families, and yet there are so many kids dealing with this.
    I thought it was interesting that both she and her brother were named after writers–I’d love to hear the backstory behind that.

  7. Added to my goodreads TBR. Happy picking your next book!

  8. I like quiet stories and this one sounds great. Thanks for the tip. You might want to pick up Screaming at the Ump. Very funny book.

  9. So great to hear that you are stretching yourself in terms of your reading interests. I need to do that a bit more. I’ve read this one and did enjoy it. Sometimes quiet books can be so powerful.

  10. Joanne Fritz says:

    You know I loved this book. Can’t decide whether I liked this one more than HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL (which I compared it to last month). They’re both excellent. They’re both quiet. And quiet books are often my favorites.

  11. Pingback: Do Dads Get a Fair Look in MG Books? | Always in the Middle

  12. Pingback: A Year of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Are You Kidding? | Always in the Middle

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