Also Known As Harper

( 40 )

Overview

Harper is an aspiring poet, and life is giving her a lot to write about just now. Daddy up and walked out, leaving them with too many bills, too little money, and an eviction notice. Now Mama is scrambling to make ends meet, leaving Harper to stay home and take care of her brother. Their whole world has been turned upside down, which Harper could just about handle—if it wasn’t for the poetry contest at school. More than anything, she wants to get up on that stage and read her poems out loud. But how can she worry...

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Also Known As Harper

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Overview

Harper is an aspiring poet, and life is giving her a lot to write about just now. Daddy up and walked out, leaving them with too many bills, too little money, and an eviction notice. Now Mama is scrambling to make ends meet, leaving Harper to stay home and take care of her brother. Their whole world has been turned upside down, which Harper could just about handle—if it wasn’t for the poetry contest at school. More than anything, she wants to get up on that stage and read her poems out loud. But how can she worry about getting back to school when she doesn’t even know where she’s going to sleep tonight?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Named after the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, fifth-grader Harper Lee Morgan defines herself as a poet: "That name has soaked itself into my bones," she writes. After her father runs off ("The whiskey got in and made angry puddles in his brain"), Harper, her mother and her younger brother, Hemingway (Hem), are evicted, and they move into a motel. With her mom physically exhausted from working day and night (and emotionally fragile as a result of Harper's stillborn baby sister, Flannery), Harper is forced to stay at the motel with Hem all day and risks missing her favorite part of the school year: the poetry contest. At the motel, she meets myriad characters, who give her plenty of material for her poems. First-time novelist Leal creates complex characters from various walks of life, though the delivery of the message "that people aren't always what they seem from the outside" occasionally feels heavy-handed. The cards are stacked against Harper and her family, but it is inspiring to watch her find success with a pen, paper and a little hope. Ages 10-up. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Jennifer Lehmann
Harper Lee Morgan has to get to school. The poetry contest for which she has been waiting all year is coming soon, and she has to show her poems to her teacher, but her family suddenly finds itself homeless. Her father left them, and her mother's jobs no longer cover their rent. Harper Lee has to stay with her brother and keep her family together, risking her own dreams. While trying to find a new way of life, they meet another homeless family and become fast friends. Harper Lee's story is beautifully written, with full and heartbreaking characters. The ending is happy and hopeful, but a little too contrived to make the reader believe that all families in this situation come out as well. The content is heavy for the age group, although several circumstances may have been harder for me as an adult reviewer to accept than they would be for a child. This book will not be for all readers, but those with some maturity or difficult experiences will appreciate the powerful text and the honest, sensitive look at these issues. Reviewer: Jennifer Lehmann
VOYA - Barbara Johnston
Once words start forming in Harper Lee Morgan's head, she must write them down. Her poems would win the poetry contest if only she were at school to submit them. Since her daddy got into whiskey and abandoned them, her mother has been trying unsuccessfully to make ends meet. Now evicted from their rental house, the family is living in a motel room and Harper must forgo school to babysit her brother while her mother works. They befriend Randall and his older sister, Lorraine, who has lost the ability to speak. Their home is part of a tent city behind the motel. At first Harper is wary of wheelchair-riding Dorothy with her bag-lady appearance, but her kindness wins over Harper. Dorothy's untimely death forces Lorraine to speak and then leads to temporary shelter and hope for Harper and her family. Dispelling stereotypical judgments about the homeless, this tender story also brings heart-wrenching insight into their plight. Harper's family might never have become desperate had not the death of baby Flannery propelled their father into alcoholism. For Dorothy, a former college professor, it was a tragic car accident. Rather than laziness, the fickle finger of fate has determined their addresses. From Harper to Winnie Rae Early, the characters are memorable as are the descriptive passages—picture their batik tent city. Most touching are Harper's pithy poems that expose the raw emotions of a bright but disadvantaged girl. This book is rich with discussion opportunity for middle school students. Reviewer: Barbara Johnston
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6

Fifth-grader Harper Lee Morgan has a lot on her mind. Her father left a year ago, her mother has fallen behind on the rent, and her five-year-old brother waits every day on the porch for his father's return. A talented writer, she desperately wants to enter an upcoming poetry contest. All of her worries can be forgotten when she is writing poetry or her mother is reading To Kill a Mockingbird to her and Hem. Then her family is evicted and they move to a local motel, where the children meet Lorraine and Randall Kelley, who live in a nearby tent encampment with their mother. Lorraine hasn't spoken since a fire destroyed her family's apartment. Hem and Harper meet Lorraine and Randall's friend Dorothy, an elderly widow who once owned the land that the motel is on and still lives in a cabin behind it. It is through these friendships that Harper discovers what really is important to her-poetry, family, friends, and the home you make with them. This is a timely tale of families on the edge with no fathers in sight, mothers struggling to keep it together, and the difficulties of recovering once you hit bottom. But the power of words-whether in poetry or a favorite book-to soothe, make things better, and give a new perspective is always there. Memorable characterizations fill the book with realistic individuals whom readers will root for and celebrate with when their lives finally begin to improve.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews
Harper Lee Morgan loves nothing more than the tingle of a new poem working itself out in her head. And all she wants is to win the poetry contest at school. However, after her father abandons the family, Harper, her mother and her younger brother, Hemingway, get evicted from their apartment and must finally settle themselves in an abandoned drive-in movie projector house. Harper, charged with taking care of Hem while her mother works, cannot make it back to school in time for the contest. Luckily, she and Hem find some friends who help guide them through their transition to homelessness and who ultimately help them into a new, albeit temporary, home. Meanwhile, Harper learns some important lessons on the meaning of home and family, and she comes to know that, when her poetry is concerned, the right audience trumps a big crowd every time. Occasionally oversentimental, but the likable characters, their misfortunes and especially their self-reliance will keep readers, particularly fans of the Boxcar Children and other such fare, enthralled. A poignant debut. (Fiction. 10-14)
From the Publisher
“First-time novelist Leal creates complex characters from various walks of life. . . . The cards are stacked against Harper and her family, but it is inspiring to watch her find success with a pen, paper and a little hope.”—Publishers Weekly

“Memorable characterizations fill the book with realistic individuals whom readers will root for and celebrate with when their lives finally begin to improve.”—School Library Journal

“First-time novelist Leal takes a narrative with familiar elements . . . and elevates it with her characters, who . . . are sharply and sympathetically drawn. One of the highlights is Harper’s poetry, interspersed throughout the book . . . they are written in a clear and natural way that will speak to readers and make them think.”—Booklist

“The likable characters, their misfortunes and especially their self-reliance will keep readers . . . enthralled. A poignant debut.”—Kirkus Reviews

“From Harper to Winnie Rae Early, the characters are memorable as are the descriptive passages…This book is rich with discussion opportunity for middle grade students.”—VOYA

“Anne Haywood Leal is a wonderful writer with an enormous heart, and a voice that is distinctive and wrenching and wise. I loved this book, and the feisty young girl known as Harper. I believe you will, too.”—Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor-winning author of Lily’s Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805088816
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

ANN HAYWOOD LEAL volunteers at her local soup kitchen, and this novel grew out of her concern for the very real issue of homelessness in our own back yards. Ann is an elementary school teacher in Waterford, Connecticut.

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Read an Excerpt

“Hey, Hem.” I moved a couple of boxes aside so he could come in. “You don’t believe in letting a person settle themselves in before you get to bothering them, now, do you?”

But I patted the corner of the bed. Hemingway’s company wasn’t so bad. He had a way about him that made all the tired go out of a person.

“Mama says we got to move pretty quick here,” he said, eyeing all my boxes.

“Not just yet.” I straightened up a stack of poems on my bed. “She just wants us to get a head start, is all.”

“Thing is…” He bit at a hangnail on his thumb and I knew what was coming. Hem always got fidgety when he was thinking about Daddy. “How’s he going to find us?”

I pulled his thumb away from his mouth. “He’ll find us if the time comes.”

I knew how badly Hem wanted Daddy to come walking back up our front steps, and I wanted that for him, I really did. But I wasn’t so sure I wanted that for me.

He got up and took a good look out my bedroom window. “It’s almost time to go out, Harper Lee.”

“You know I’m not going to go out to the porch,” I reminded him.

He leaned forward as if he was going to tell me a good secret. “But I’m thinking I might wait on the driveway path today, right out front, you know? Just so as he can see me better.”

But deep down, I think Hemingway knew as well as I did, when Daddy had made his way down that driveway path a whole year ago, he had never figured on coming back.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 23, 2011

    A Book With Meaning

    This book is sooo good! You will never wanna put it down! Harper's words are powerful and you can picture everytging happening, trauma and victory. A very interesting book for ages 8-15. Enjoy!

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    Respect For Inspiration...

    Also known as Harper is a very Excellent book. It's like someone handing you inspiration in a book form. Also known as Harper is about a girl named Harper Lee and her family ( Mom , and Brother Hemingway) struggles with family relation. Harper Lee is a poet trying to persue her dream of becoming a poet and also trying to NOT be afraid of the challenges she has to face. But she faces life as a poet with her friends and she tries to follow her dreams!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2011

    A Book with poetry

    Harper's words are powerful and strong. They don't siund like the're coming from a 12 year old. One of my favorite books EVER!! Age: 9-13

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    Awesome

    I love this book!! Im not really into reading but wen i read thisbook i couldnt put it down!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2011

    QwertyuiopasdfghjklZXCVBNM?

    AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 11, 2011

    love this book

    this book is so amazing i couldnt put it down got caught in class for readin it best book ever

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    Love it...

    The book is fantastic, but the author is better. I know Mrs. LEAL, and she is just an amazing person.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    GOOD

    Great book!! I have to read it for summer reading for school. But I would still read it if I didn't have to because it is so good!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    Kritter81

    Great book!!! I Read it over and over again!!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Endearing and heartbreaking

    It's the most exciting time of the year for fifth grader Harper Lee Morgan. The poetry contest is coming. But when Harper gets home one day from school, all their things are out on their front lawn. Mama's been having a hard time paying the bills, but Harper just can't believe the landlord would throw them outside like that. They pack up as much of their things as they can and move into a motel room. The next day, Mama asks Harper to watch her little brother instead of going to school. Harper can't stand the idea of not getting to sign up for the poetry contest. As the days go by, and the poetry contest deadline draws near, Harper is inspired with some great words. If only she could find a place to read those poems out loud.

    What a sweet story! Endearing and heartbreaking. How quickly a hardworking family can be out on the streets with nothing. It was so interesting to see Harper and her little bother go through this hard situation. I liked Harper's voice. She was sweet and honest and fun to read. I liked how she made friends without caring what they looked like. I highly recommend this one for readers of all ages. It's a great book to get you thinking about what's really important in life.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    SCAVENGER HUNT

    This hunt will have two teams. (Got this from another hunt. Go team unicorn!) Search humor for a sisters hert and tap the first one. The first two people to post their team names will have to create a hunt to guide others to join your team. More info on the reviews of humor for a sisters heart.
    Happy hunting. :)

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 19, 2012

    Wow. That is the only word that can describe this book. After I

    Wow. That is the only word that can describe this book. After I got past the begining it was awsome. But what does that mean was bad in the begining??? Well lefts just say that it started off a little slow and I didnt LOVE it like I usually do to most books. Bt after that it was amazing! Check out my book reveiw blog called "So Many Books, So Little Time..." to find out more!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    H

    Wow it made me cry it was so awesome had to do a report on it andi loved it

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    Harper is a strong young lady.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Good

    i love this book soo much. Everybody should be greatful for what they have and dont take it for granite. I like how when Harper ends up homeless she still herself. I wish she was a little older. She is like my hero and a great role model. Please read this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Prsise for "Also Known as Harper"

    This is the best book ever! I have read it many times

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommended-a must read for girls!

    Meet Harper a girl who is battling a conflict of person against self when trying to deal with some traumatic life experiences and her inner drive to overcome all these obstacles to be on stage during her school's poetry contest. The chronological and progressive plot of this story allows the reader to understand what is happening in Harpers life as it occurs. The story even throws in a few flashbacks to give the reader a better understanding of what has led up to the events that are happening now and why Harper sometimes questions whether her poems are good at all. The main characters in the book are Harper who is a fifth grade girl who loves to write poetry and her little brother Hemingway. There is also the mean and nasty Winnie Rae Early who seems to live to antagonize Harper. Through a wonderful use of descriptive imagery this book will have you seeing what it looks like to be homeless through the eyes of Harper. This is a very appropriate book for children in the upper elementary grades it is a well written, rich, and challenging chapter book. I think children will learn from this book that material things and where you make your home is not that important. The most important thing is being together. Harper states in the book "The place might need to change once in a while, but the part that was the same was the three of us. Together." I would definetly recommend this book to other parents.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2011

    poem lover

    Harpers words sink deep into my heart and make me feel lucky with my life, though i do wish i could hav a great friend as Harper has Lorraine. This book is a must read for sure!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    AWESOME Book!!!!!!!!!!!

    I really enjoyed reading this through a book club with a bunch of my friends (fifth grade). The book is quite interesting and i have talked my mom into reading it so I have decided to go out with my dad and buy it this weekend!


    ~ Racheal

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Read!

    This book is about a girl named Harper Lee, and her family has been evicted 2 years after her father left her mother with all the bills to pay. While looking for a job, they stay at a motel, but Harper needs to find a way to school to share her poems and win this poem contest. Along the way Harper and her brother meet some unexpected friends, and together they find that you don't need to win a contest or to have a grand house-all you need is friendship. This is a great book for kids ages 11-13, and I surely enjoyed it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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