Harriet, the Spy

Harriet, the Spy

Book - 1964
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Baker & Taylor
Eleven-year-old Harriet keeps notes on her classmates and neighbors in a secret notebook, but when some of the students read the notebook, they seek revenge.

& Taylor

The discovery of Harriet's secret journal, concerning the personalities and activities of her schoolmates and neighbors, causes pandemonium

Publisher: New York : Harper & Row, [1964]
ISBN: 9780060219116
Characteristics: 298 p. illus. 21 cm


From the critics

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Jul 29, 2019

Harriet THE SPY. This genius of this book does not seem to age as it speaks to young and old... Who wouldn't have wanted an Ole Golly in their childhood? And even the bridge-playing mom and the dad who channels Mad Men are portrayed as genuinely caring parents in the crazy brownstone edging Central Park and the East River...

Harriet (aka Louise Fitzhugh) was a fly on the wall in so many niches of the Upper East Side. To read this book is to read a slice of history through a child's eye.

adering Jan 14, 2017

Not just one of the finest children's books, also one of those children's books that adults get something out of too. Harriet is acerbic, a little neurotic, sharp as a tack, naive. The book has a slight bittersweet edge to it. Partly from the narrative, but partly from the realization that Harriet's New York is almost (if not completely) gone, forced out by gentrification gone wild. Hers was a more nuanced, more delightful New York, a New York to be a child in. A New York of family grocery stores, without a Starbucks or cupcake boutique to be seen.
Put it on the shelf next to "Stuart Little" and "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." Every generation and socioeconomic group has "its" New York. Harriet owns her piece of the city, all the way up to the sky.

Aug 10, 2016

Though there are references to a different time, the story still remains timeless. A true classic!

Jul 05, 2016

One of my favourite childhood books. I love the creativity and could always relate to Harriet, since she was always writing. Awesome plot and great ending, I would definitely recommend this book!

bella037 Mar 29, 2016

My eight-year-old daughter absolutely loved this book. I heard her laughing out loud while she was reading it, and she finished it in two days. Wonderful writing and character development! It was one of my own childhood favorites.

vpl_childrens Dec 15, 2015

Eleven-year-old Harriet M. Welsch lives in New York City and aspires to be a writer. She enjoys the role of being a spy as she writes down everything she observes about her family, friends, and classmates. When her friends get their hands on her notebook and read the bluntly honest things she has written about them, Harriet realizes the difficulties of being a spy.

ehbooklover Aug 25, 2015

This book is another of my childhood favourites. After rereading it as an adult, I am glad to say that it held up pretty well. I still loved Harriet, even though this time there were definite times where I thought that she was acting like a spoiled brat. I now have more of an appreciation for the complexity of Harriet, who is a wonderfully complicated, honest, and interesting little girl. Bonus: The illustrations are fun and brought back memories of reading the book as a child.

Jul 08, 2015

I am Pretty sure I read this when I was a kid but memories of the 1996 movie have replaced my childhood reading of it. Reading again at 36 years old if found it wonderful. for a book written in 1964 it was amazing how many emotions it dealt with that real kids feel. Many other books of that era had not reached that point. that why
I think kids of today will not find it too dated. one issue that I have seen come up is that Harriet is not always a likeable person. that is true but I think that is what makes her more of a real a believable character.

frankielandaubanks May 31, 2014

I the love the essays that end this 50th anniversary edition!

Beth_Hatch May 01, 2014

One of the greatest literary characters of all time- so spunky, so misunderstood. Love it!

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Add Age Suitability
Jul 21, 2014

red_lion_353 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 7

Jul 03, 2014

joycemas thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12

Jun 21, 2013

white_crane_6 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Blue_Dolphin_1285 Aug 12, 2012

Blue_Dolphin_1285 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Blue_Dolphin_1285 Aug 12, 2012

Blue_Dolphin_1285 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over


Add a Summary
Jul 03, 2014

Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. In her notebook, she writes down everything she knows about everyone, even her classmates and her best friends. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together?


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Jul 28, 2016

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it to you


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