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Also Known As Harper

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,320 ratings  ·  212 reviews
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 w ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Square Fish (first published May 26th 2009)
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Community Reviews

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When I was in middle school, my mom invented a phrase for schmaltz: Hokey Wombat Shit.

If we were watching television and the plot became mushy or sentimental, Mom would groan, "Oh, please. Hokey Wombat Shit!"

If two characters in a movie smooched while strings swelled and onlookers clapped, the film was immediately filed under Hokey Wombat Shit.

If my mom read Also Known As Harper, she would definitely roll her eyes, put it aside, and exclaim, "Hokey Wombat Shit!"

Because that's what it is. In fa
Destinee Sutton
Mock Newbery 2010

There were a lot of things I disliked about this, but let's start with the positives: it portrays homelessness in an interesting way, from the family being evicted, to living in a motel, to pitching a tent in the woods, all the while making the best of it and trying to stay together and support each other. It also features one my my favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird, heavily.

But To Kill a Mockingbird it is not. I thought Harper Lee's voice as a narrator was too flowery. It
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

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 o
The story is about this girls life living with her mom and younger brother. They have to go through rough times when her dad leaves because of his drinking habitats and the family is kicked out of their house and have to live in a run down motel, until they can pay up the money they owe.

I thought the book was very sweet and nice, even through the rough times. I felt this way throughout the book because Harper the main character has a gift for words and uses that in her poems. So if something d
Daniela Trybula
i rate this book a 5 because i think that this book is pretty interesting from the title of the book to the cover of the book.So i think
Jill Chomowicz
While sad, this is a very hopeful book. The character's know how to love and choose to love. Harper Lee is a 5th grader, writer, poet and deep, deep thinker and feeler. After her baby sister dies at birth, her father despairs into a bottle and eventually leaves the family. Harper's mom is then unable to pay the rent and they are evicted from their rental home in a small town. They end up in a community of homeless and Harper and her brother Hemingway develop deep friendship with another sister a ...more
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
Things at Harper’s house are different since her Daddy drove away. There had been fighting and he had been drinking too much and this time, after he drove away, he never came back home again. It’s quieter now. There’s no shouting. But Harper’s mom is having a hard time paying the bills and paying the rent. One day, Harper returns from school and sees that all of their belongings are sitting in their front yard. The landlord has kicked the family out. With nothing but the necessities that will fi ...more
Purr More, Censor Less
Mrs. Rodriquez is collecting poems this week for the school’s poetry contest, but Harper Lee (named after her mother’s favorite author) can’t turn her poem in because her family just got evicted from their house and she has to take care of her little brother, Hemingway, while her mother looks for work. All Harper wants to do is stand up on that stage and read her “words”. Unfortunately, life has other plans. Her father left last year leaving her mother to support their family and also pay back r ...more
This is a 3.5 from me.

This is a strong portrayal of homeless families in our own neighborhoods. It is packed with interesting characters, and gets the point across without overwhelming the reader with misery and hardship.

Harper has been very excited to enter the poetry reading contest at school this year. But then her family gets evicted from their house. And her mother makes her babysit her brother at the motel instead of going to school. She meets some other kids living in a tent community, an
Linda Lipko
Those who might think that YA is all fluff, please take some time to read this book.

Dealing with the difficult, tragic subject of homelessness, the author shows keen insight into this travesty.

Told through the eyes of fifth grade Harper, we witness the plight of her mother and her family.

Her father's absence leaves Harper with conflicted emotions, Harper remembers her father before the alcohol became #1 priority in his life, before he grew more and more dependent upon the liquor, before his chil
Eva Mitnick
After Harper Lee Morgan, her little brother Hemingway (Hem for short), and their mom are evicted for not paying the rent, they move temporarily to a nearby cheap roadside motel. Because her mom is working extra hours trying to earn enough money to get them out of this fix, Harper Lee is forced to stay out of school to babysit her little brother, a particular onerous situation because this is the week that the entries for the Whaley County Poetry Contest are due at school.

Harper Lee, you see, is
ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER is a book I'm excited to share with my middle school students for a few reasons. First, the characters Ann Haywood Leal has created here are some of the most memorable I've met in a long time. Harper, with her book of poems, her larger-than-life heart, and her mixed up feelings about her alcoholic father, has been dealt some rough blows as the novel opens. Her family is close to homeless, her mother keeps her home from school to babysit, and still, she's able to reach out to ...more
Love it! Love it! Love it! Love it! Love it! Love it!

This is one of those books that surprises you. At first you think you are going to get a story about a family that has just had their lives turned upside down and are struggling to get back on their feet. And I would have been ok with that. Well, more than ok. Harper is such a lovable, believable character that you can't help but want to potect her along with her mom and younger brother.

But what Ms. Leal did that sets this book apart from just
This is the book I have been waiting for this year! It is CLEAR that Leal used her background as teacher to craft this novel. From start to finish I could put names to the faces of the characters. Not the names that they are given in the novel, but the names of students I have encountered in my classroom over the last 11 years. It made me think more of those students and their lives. I smiled, laughed, and cried.
This book would be great for a literature circle or a situation where you could real
Megan Koval
Although this was not a traditional upbeat and cute children's book, I thought it was very good. I think this book did a good job of presenting almost controversial issues in a way that children will understand. I think that a reader can really connect with Harper and feel the pain and struggle that she goes through. Harper's issues are incredibly accurate as to how they would really be in real life and it really made me aware of the obsticles that many children must face on a day to day basis. ...more
Courtney Weber
I enjoyed this book a lot, but I do not think this is a great book for kids with sensitive hearts and feelings. There is a lot of hard hitting stuff in this book including a father as an alcoholic, a single mother, eviction, homelessness, loss, tragedy, etc.. This would be a good independent read for the older elementary level. This would be harder for younger kids to read, because of all of the hard hitting topics. They might not even pick up on all of it. I think it would be better as an indep ...more
Anna Frame
This book has a great message that children can take away from the book. Harper is a strong young girl who can show children how to have a positive outlook when things get tough and she is also a great role model to her brother. Their family story is very interesting and I think that some children will be able to relate to it.

-children in 5th and 6th grade would enjoy this book
-this is considered to be realistic fiction and it would be a good book to read
Kelly Grimes
This book was eye opening for me. Since I grew up in home that didn’t have to deal with these situations that Harper struggles with, I was clueless of how the effects took a toll on children. I really enjoyed this book because this story provided me with some of the struggles and family issues students in the classroom might be dealing with themselves. I was able to gain the knowledge that every student will come from a different family and background. I did find this story to be at times depres ...more
In the book, Also Known as Harper, the main character is Harper Lee. Harper has a little brother that she is constantly looking after. Harper’s mother loses her job and Harper really becomes an adult in her little body. Harper learns to take on many adult roles while she loses her child innocence. I found this chapter book to be very surreal. As readers, we generally lean to the happier side of children’s books, however this book was different in a very good way. The realism of Harper and the ob ...more
Jessica Joy
At first, I really wasn't sure about this book. It tells of a girl whose life is literally falling to pieces. I read this as I was younger, and I really didn't understand it too much. It wasn't until after I had finished it that the hidden meanings started to come through. I'm easily affected, by books especially, but something about the way this book is written really impressed on me. The main thing, though, that this book really left me with was my view of poetry.

Before this, I had written po
Airelynn Trask
I read this novel years ago, at some point between sixth and seventh grade. A very short time afterward, I found myself in Harper's situation, spiraling in my mind as my family was kicked from motel to hotel, and we somehow managed to conceal this from our schools. We found an apartment after two months, but we were evicted about a year and a half later, in May of 2014. Since then, we have been between hotels. I now take Harper's situation and hold it closely to my heart, as I have lived through ...more
Kristina Befort
Also Known as Harper tells the story of young Harper Lee Morgan, an aspiring poet whose family was just evicted from their home. Her baby sister recently passed away, and her father already left her family. Now essentially homeless, their family moves into a motel and struggles to make ends meet. Harper's mom eventually loses her job, and they find themselves back on the street. Harper is put in charge of her little brother, Hemingway, and she has to miss the poetry contest that she is looking f ...more
Erin Feller
Personal reaction
I felt this was a moving story about children in a rough situation. It shows that no matter what kind of hard times your facing, there are people you can relate to that can help you get through it. I would definitely keep this book in mind for any future student that I know is facing similar circumstances.

Purpose(s)/Use in the classroom
This would be a great book for children to understand privilege and how people differ in their background. I would use this in my 4th to 5th gra
great writing by first time author Ann Haywood Leal. Harper is a young poet living in poverty with her mom and brother, Hemingway. Mom loves literature obviously and dad has moved on because his sadness makes him drink too much. Loved reading this...loved winning this book from Shelf Elf's blog.
Lexus Beedy
Personal reaction:
I didn’t fall in love with this book as much as I have heard others have. Putting aside my own personal reaction to this story, I do see how it could be a great resource for children who are either going through a tough situation or opening children’s eyes to what is going on in the world around them. This book discusses topics of divorce, death, alcoholism, poverty, and homelessness that we don’t always think of as issues involved in a 5th-6th grade book but are realistic issu
Tamara the Librarian
Harper's life has become better and worse since her father drove away one day and never came back. He was an alcoholic who was verbally abusive to her mom and her but was nice to her brother Hemingway. Harper is a 5th grade aspiring poet- her teacher praises her talent and Harper cannot help to write all the poetic things that come to her mind. Even though her mom works hard she can only get low-paying jobs because she is uneducated. They become homeless and move into a motel where a group of ot ...more
Absolutely heartbreaking! This sneak peek of a family dealing with the consequences of poverty absolutely wrecks me! Harper's father has left the family and her mom must work multiple jobs to make ends meet. They are soon evicted from their home and must live in a local motel until they find something better. Harpers a a good student who loves school, especially writing. Before the class Poetry Contest, she is forced to watch her brother while mom takes on more jobs to get them back on their fee ...more
Addison Children
Harper's mother is poor and under-educated. Unable to make the rent Harper along with her mother and brother are forced out of their home and into a motel. Harper is asked to skip school to care for her brother while mom searches for work. Harper is angry and resentful about it all; sure this will cause her to again miss her opportunity to participant in the school poetry contest. There is much sadness to go around and it's all pretty depressing. The ending is unbelievable and everybody ends up ...more
I immediately formed a bond with Harper Lee. She loves writing poetry, as I do, and she loves words. I love her passion for writing, and her bravery. She tries anything she can to get to school, take care of her brother, and help out her mother This story is so built upon family, and discusses some sensitive issues. The relationships of the characters is what made me love this book so much. The family bonds, the friendships, and the rivalries. The way each character develops kept me hooked. I de ...more
This book grabbed me from the beginning with a wonderful voice, and I felt sympathetic toward Harper and the mean Early family, but all too soon i became annoyed with Harper's mean-spirited comments toward them. Protagonists who come across as not much nicer than the antagonist rapidly lose the sympathy vote. At times I was irritated with Harper and didn't want her to resort to name calling of the other characters. it's the biggest complaint I had with the book. Other than that, I enjoyed readin ...more
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