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Ramona + Sparrowboy = BFF

Who else imagines that these two would be friends? And maybe with him? And her! What other characters do you imagine as BFFs in Children’s Lit Land?

On Kathleen T. Horning’s “On Spies and Purple Socks and Such” (from 2005)

“Sometimes you have to lie. But to yourself you must always tell the truth.” —Ole Golly from Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh June is Pride Month (whether or not the White House recognizes it) and LGBTQIA folx and their allies are holding their rainbow flags — of various stripes — high. In the January/February […]

Harriet fans, feast your eyes

Fans of Harriet the Spy must click here. Seriously. You will not be disappointed. Thanks to Friend-of-the-Horn-Book Rich Michelson for sharing this special image with us (used by permission of Laura Morehead, another big thank-you). According to Rich: “The story behind the picture is only that it was found among Louise Fitzhugh’s papers. No one […]

Editorial: The Man with the Purple Socks

Unlike our lucky essayists (starting with Kathleen T. Horning), I never read Harriet the Spy as a child. Sure, it was around — I remember Susan Walley doing a book report on Harriet in the sixth grade — but I had learned by then what finks would do to boys who read books with a […]

Harriet at 50

She doesn’t look a day over eleven, but this year Harriet the Spy, first published in 1964, is turning 50. To celebrate, The Horn Book Magazine‘s May/June issue features thoughts, musings, riffs, and remembrances about the girl spy. Click on the tag Harriet at 50 to see what Jack Gantos, K. T. Horning, Megan McDonald, […]

I Spy: Harriet and I

When I was a boy, I knew I was sneaky, but I didn’t think of myself as a “lowlife sneak” until my mother called me one with such disgust in her voice I actually did feel ashamed. I was babysitting at the next-door neighbor’s house when my mother looked out her own bedroom window and […]

Writer, Wrestler, Stutterer, Spy

This is the story of how I came to read and know and love Harriet the Spy. It is also a harrowing account of my brush with danger, in which my ten-year-old self stared fear in the face. When I was nine or so, I started having trouble with words. I grew up with four […]

Becoming a Book Detective

Although I grew up in a household of women who read, my reading education is a bit unusual in the academic world. In the in-law apartment my dad built for her, my grandmother lined the custom-made bookshelves with thick volumes of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. In these pages, I first met Agatha Christie, Victoria Holt, […]

Harriet Off the Beaten Path

WHENEVER I GO TO THE MET I SEE THE SAME TWO KIDS THERE, SLINKING AROUND THE MUSEUM. DO THEY LIVE THERE? ALSO I’M PRETTY SURE I SAW THEM STEALING MONEY FROM THE FOUNTAIN. KEEP AN EYE ON THEM. THAT ELOISE, SHE IS SUCH A PILL. WHO WOULD WANT TO LIVE IN A HOTEL? ESPECIALLY A […]

Spying on Louise Fitzhugh

I can clearly remember the first time I encountered Harriet the Spy. It was still a relatively new book in my school library when I pulled it off the shelf at age nine. Back then I read pretty much everything in the school library. A Wrinkle in Time. Meet the Austins. Depend on Katie John. […]