Harriet at 50

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

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

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

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

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

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

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 […]