Also Known As Harper

Also Known As Harper

by Ann Haywood Leal

Paperback(Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312659349
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 08/02/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 827,015
Product dimensions: 7.42(w) x 5.24(h) x 0.72(d)
Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 12 Years

About 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.

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.

Reading Group Guide

Pre-reading Activity
Although the United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty states that approximately
3.5 million people, 1.35 million of them children, are likely to experience homelessness in a given year, and that these statistics have been rising drastically in recent decades. Discuss the concept of homelessness, what it means to families that experience it, and what images come to your mind when you think of homeless people.
Discussion Questions
1 Why does Harper's mother name her children after famous authors? What do you know about Harper Lee and Ernest Hemingway? Who was Flannery named after?
2 Why does Hemingway like to pretend he has broken bones? Why does he wait every day for their father to come home?
3 Harper loves to be at school and generally feels comfortable there. What does she find at school that she does not find at home?
4 Why is Harper so excited about the poetry contest? What happened in the previous year when she wanted to enter?
5 Why doesn't Sarah Lynn's mother allow her to play with Harper or visit her home? Does this affect the way Harper feels about Sarah Lynn? What would you do if you were Sarah Lynn?
6 How does Harper feel when she returns from school to find all the family's belongings in the yard? How would you feel? Why does Winnie Rae taunt Harper from next door?
7 How does Harper's mother deal with the situation of being evicted? What are the important belongings that they make sure to pack in the car, and why is each one important?
What would you take with you?
8 What kept Harper's mother from finishing school and getting a better job? Why did she stop doing her own writing? Why does she ask
Harper to stay home from school when they move to the motel?
9 Describe Harper's first sight of Dorothy. What would you think if you saw someone looking the way Harper describes her? Why does the encounter with Dorothy make Harper feel like writing? She says that Dorothy's eyes "looked like they knew things. Things about people.
Maybe things that people didn't know about their own selves."
What does she mean?
10 Describe Harper and Hem's first meeting with Randall and Lorraine. Why do they let them into their room?
Why does Harper feel that Lorraine could be her friend?
11 What do the swimming pool and the drive-in theater mean to each of the children? Could the drive-in really be fixed up, as
Lorraine wants to do?
12 How does Harper feel when she sees her favorite piece of furniture in
Lorraine's tent? How would you feel if you had no control over what happens to your own belongings?
13 Why does Harper write a poem to Flannery when she sees all their belongings being sold in a yard sale? How does Harper's writing help her to cope with each new crisis?
14 Harper says that it is easier to deal with Winnie Rae when she is being nasty than when she is being nice. Why is Harper so confused when Winnie Rae saves some of the decals from her dresser for her? What else does she learn about the Early family that surprises her?
15 Discuss Dorothy's statement: "If folks don't like the way you look, they almost never take the time to find anything out about you. They just make up their own stories."
Why does Harper feel so good when Dorothy praises her writing?
16 Some of the most influential characters in the story are ones that are already gone – Harper's daddy, Dorothy's husband and daughter, Lorraine's father. What do you know about each of them and what effect did they have on the people in the story?
17 What does Harper mean when she writes: "Words are just one way/To get people to listen to you"? What makes her feel she can share all of her troubles with Lorraine, even more than she puts into her writing?
18 Why does Harper feel that the Knotty Pine Poetry
Reading is better than reading her poems at school? Why is the first poem she reads in the rehearsal so important to her?
19 The book ends with two deaths and yet there is hope for Harper's family. How does Dorothy's death affect Lorraine and Randall? How does it affect Harper and her family?
20 What does Harper's mother mean when she says, "I feel as if I have been away on a long trip"? Why does it always make her feel better when she starts reading her favorite book? Why does she pick up Dorothy's copy of To Kill a Mockingbird instead of her own copy?
21 Looking back over the story, which of Harper's poems means the most to you? Try reading her poems out loud. Does that change the way you experience them? Discuss the difference between writing in private and reading aloud.
22 Recalling your pre-reading discussion of homelessness, do you have a different concept of what it means to be homeless now? How has this book changed your concept of homeless people and the impact of homelessness on the children who experience it?

Customer Reviews

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Also Known As Harper 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Amy Steiner More than 1 year ago
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!
Cali3 More than 1 year ago
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
Elliya-G More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!! Im not really into reading but wen i read thisbook i couldnt put it down!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Laura Glass More than 1 year ago
this book is so amazing i couldnt put it down got caught in class for readin it best book ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is fantastic, but the author is better. I know Mrs. LEAL, and she is just an amazing person.
nuttybar6789 More than 1 year ago
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!!!!
Novel_Teen_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow it made me cry it was so awesome had to do a report on it andi loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Harper is a strong young lady.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever! I have read it many times
Cassie Marek More than 1 year ago
Great book!!! I Read it over and over again!!!!!
CTCAKING More than 1 year ago
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.
Riley29 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
novel_reader More than 1 year ago
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!
WunderkindCP More than 1 year ago
As a 19-year-old junior in college, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! While needing a break from Hamlet and Pride & Prejudice, I decided to browse the children's section at Barnes and Nobles. I was instantly drawn to the book by it's cover. After reading the first few pages, I was sold. I found myself continually looking for free time to continue reading the book. It has some pretty tough content in it, but it's "real" and should not be avoided. I highly recommend this book to teachers for their classrooms because it's full of real life issues that students need to knwo about. It's also clean -- no cursing, sexual content, violence. Lael writes this book in a way that's appealing to all ages. Give it a chance; I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Also Known as Harper is a beautiful book, always rising and falling in action. Ann Haywood Leal did an amazing job writing the book. I don't want to give away any of the book... so all I will say is it was inspirational.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best I've read in years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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. :)
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKS More than 1 year ago
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!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Harper Lee Morgan was named after the author of her mother's favorite book, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. She has grown up hearing her mother read the book aloud - 36 times in fact, if the tally marks on the kitchen wall are accurate. For a while it's just been Harper, her mother, and her little brother, Hemingway (Hem), at least since her father up and left them. They used to be a happy family. They didn't have a lot, but they loved each other and made do. But after baby Flannery died, things were never quite the same. Harper loves school and is determined that this year she will participate in the local poetry contest. Writing poetry is like breathing for Harper. She dreams of getting up in front of the crowd and reading her poems into the microphone for all to hear. Just when she thinks this year it will be possible, the landlady throws all their belongings out into the front yard. She says they are way behind in their rent, and she has more reliable tenants waiting in line. Moving isn't unusual. Since her father left and her mother has been working whatever jobs she can to make ends meet, they've had to do without, but moving into a rundown nearby motel changes everything. Harper has to stay in their room and keep an eye on Hem while her mother looks for work. That means no school and probably no poetry contest. It seems like the end of the world until Harper gets acquainted with the other folks who live in and around the motel. There's Randall and his sister, Lorraine. Lorraine stopped talking a while back. She may be quiet, but she's awfully nice. Harper is surprised when she learns they don't actually live at the motel, but instead in a make-shift tent community hidden beyond the Knotty Pine Luxury Cabins. Harper and Hem also become fast friends with Dorothy, a woman in a wheelchair who owns the property around the motel. She is the original Pine of the Knotty Pine Luxury Cabins, and knew them when they were comfy little separate cabins and not a bunch of rundown motel rooms all hooked together. The life that Harper leads would wear most people down, scraping by with a few changes of clothes, occasional hot showers, and living mostly off of peanut butter sandwiches. However, Harper has always made the best of things, and with the love of her mother and brother and her new friends, she seems to keep her chin up and keep a positive view of the world. Ann Haywood Leal's novel illustrates the fate of far too many people in today's society. Many families are working hard but never finding a way to get ahead. Harper's determination and creativity help this family carry on through the toughest of times.
stephxsu on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Fifth grader Harper Lee Morgan is named after her mother¿s favorite author, and Harper knows that the poems that she writes are good. However, circumstances beyond her control must take precedence. When they suddenly lose their home, it is up to Harper to watch her younger brother, Hemingway, while their mother tries to find extra jobs to make some money and be able to find a real home. Harper is devastated that her family situation will prevent her from being able to read her poems at her school¿s poetry competition, but with help from unexpected places¿new friends and old enemies¿Harper realizes that poetry can be performed in any environment.ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER is an easy and gentle read that introduces young readers to the delicate issue of homelessness through the eyes of a thoroughly appealing protagonist.The occasionally whimsical and melodramatic plot is anchored by Harper Lee, whose passions, vulnerabilities, and narration contain ageless appeal. She is a very well realized character, and approaches the events in her life with objectivity and fluidity: she is healthily skeptical of some scenarios, but is willing to admit that she was wrong and has a lot to learn. Her interactions with her younger brother are adorable; in fact, the sense of familial strength in ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER will make you want to give your siblings, parents, or children a big hug for just existing.Some of the supporting characters, however, are not believable as Harper Lee, and their characterization can seem repetitive and excessive, such as the wheelchair lady¿s oft-noted ability to understand Harper better than she understands herself. The resolution is hasty and therefore not as satisfying as it could be, and as I noted earlier, there is a strain of fantastical unbelievability that runs throughout the story. A lot of the situations that Harper, her brother, and her friends stumble upon feel contrived, which is unfortunate, as it detracts from the poignancy of Harper and her family¿s predicament.ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER has its amateuristic flaws, but its intentions are clear and good: it illustrates the power of essential relationships to sustain one through the worst situations. As a result, it may be a good book for adults and children to read separately and discuss together.