Becoming a Book Detective

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

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

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

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

Harriet the Spy by 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. […]

Fifty Years of Novel Exploits

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet M. Welsch is celebrating her sixty-first birthday with a bottle of pinot noir. She’s wearing an expensive new pair of glasses, a splurge from the last royalty check. Her spy novel Secrets has gone viral, and she just signed a contract for the series. Reviews have hailed her detective heroine’s fearless curiosity and unexpurgated […]

Harriet and Me

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Where to begin with how important Harriet the Spy has been in my life? I guess I’ll have to start with my childhood. I was in fourth grade, at a school book fair. I’d forgotten to bring money that day, which was a problem because there was one book I was desperate to have. It […]

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 […]

Melissa Sweet on Firefly July

Melissa Sweet

In the March/April 2014 Horn Book Magazine, Mag assistant editor Cynthia Ritter asked Melissa Sweet about her creative process when illustrating Firefly July. Read the starred review here. Cynthia K. Ritter: Your visual interpretations of the seasonal poems in this collection are a mix of literal and symbolic. What was your artistic process like when […]

Moving moments No. 2

TernRock

Cindy found this one, The Light at Tern Rock by Julia Sauer, a Newbery Honor Book in 1952–and originally published in the Horn Book Magazine in 1949. This would seem to break the award’s rule about “original work,” that the “text is presented here for the first time and has not been previously published elsewhere […]

Byron Barton on My Bus

byron barton

In the March/April 2014 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer K. T. Horning asked author/illustrator Byron Barton about My Bus, his latest transportation celebration. Read the starred review here. K. T. Horning: Joe from My Bus and Sam from My Car (Greenwillow, 2001) seem to lead parallel lives. And yet Joe’s passengers are animals and Sam’s are […]