On Spies and Applesauce and Such

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

The arrival of Harriet the Spy with fanfare and announcements of approval for its “realism” makes me wonder again why that word is invariably applied to stories about disagreeable people and situations. Are there really no amiable children? No loyal friends? No parents who are fundamentally loving and understanding? I challenge the implication that New […]

A Second Look: Harriet the Spy

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy was published in 1964. That was the year I read it twelve times. That was the year our school bookstore kept running out of green composition notebooks, and the cafeteria was plagued with requests for tomato sandwiches. A memorable year for many of us. Now, sixteen years later, I take a closer […]

On Spies and Purple Socks and Such

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

If you were a queer kid like me growing up in the sixties, I hope you were fortunate enough to come across books by Louise Fitzhugh. She may have saved your life, or at least made it a bit more comfortable. When I was eleven, I didn’t know I was gay; I only knew that […]

Do I know it’s Christmas?

Xmas tie

So I’m rocking my Christmas tie and going to see The Nutcracker tonight (live from Lincoln Center at a theater near you) but the spirit of the season is eluding me. Not that I’m unhappy, just Not in the Mood. I shall have to take a leaf from Miss Fitzhugh: “Sport wrote back: I have […]

>Euwwww, used e-books

>Amazon’s practice of keeping track of what you underline is not only creepy, it’s disgusting. There I was, happily beginning Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War on my iPod Touch’s Kindle reader (all in all a nifty piece of software) when I came upon this: To hear Rhoda Henry’s daily chatter, her life passed in […]

>Is Passion Old-Fashioned?

>Over on the PUBYAC listserv, Jan Hanson of the Longview Public Library in Washington is looking for it: “A HS teacher called and is asking for ideas of books that illustrate a teen with passion, as in “a passion for dancing” or a “passion for football.” I love this query; it’s requests like these that […]

>When Frog and Toad Are More Than Friends

>Who needs old closet case Dumbledore when Claire has put together a first-class list of out-n-proud GLBTQ-and-sometimes-Y fiction? I’ve got an editorial in the upcoming Horn Book about the outing of Dumbledore, who in fact joins a long line of characters who coulda-woulda-shoulda be gay if the reader so inclines–like Shakespeare in Susan Cooper’s King […]

>Developmentally Delighted

>This Newsweek story about the over-diagnosis of developmental problems in kids reminds me of a discussion in my children’s lit class in library school. We were all enthusiastically talking about Harriet the Spy until one student, an infiltrator from the psych. department, sputtered, “I can’t believe you all are recommending children read this book about […]

>Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves

>There’s been some discussion recently about blogging and inclusivity that came to mind when I read this article Martha showed me about kids and their cliques. Marion Hawthorne lives. As Monica Edinger pointed out in the post linked above, it’s not just kids. As Barbara Grizzuti Harrison wrote of her adolescence among the Greenwich Village […]