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Also Known as Harper

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,584 ratings  ·  239 reviews
Harper Lee Morgan is an aspiring poet, which isn't surprising, seeing as how she's named after her mama's favorite writer, Harper Lee. And life is giving her a lot to write about just now. Daddy up and walked out, leaving them broke. Then Harper's family gets evicted.

With Mama scrambling to find work, Harper has to skip school to care for her little brother, Hemingway. The
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published May 26th 2009 by Henry Holt & Company
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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,584 ratings  ·  239 reviews

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Jul 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Sep 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: 9-13
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
May 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Daniela Trybula
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Linda Lipko
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
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
Purr More
May 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
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
Jul 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Ella Murphy
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Also known as Harper is about a girl who's dad has left her and her family, when her family is forced out of their house Harper has to stay home from school to look after her brother Hemingway while their mom is at work. At Harpers school there is a poetry contest going on and Harper really wants to be in it. This is a very good book and I would rate it about a 3.8/5.

Laina SpareTime
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Cross-posted from my blog where there's more information on where I got my copy and stuff.

This actually was a little too perfect for me. I realize I'm contradicting myself completely with this blog post, but this seems like it's trying too hard. It's trying to deal with like six different things in less than 250 pages, and none of them really get given the depth they deserve. Everything is resolved a little too easily, and somehow isn't resolved enough at the same time.

The homelessness especiall
Kristi Bell
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book! Clean read about a girl named Harper Lee and her brother Hem, short for Hemingway. Harper Lee is an aspiring writer who loves to write poetry and has high aspirations of reading her poetry on stage in front of the whole school. Harper encounters some obstacles along the way: her father has left her family and they are to fend for themselves. Her mother works several jobs and gets evicted from their home they are renting. Will Harper get her poetry to her teacher to read ...more
Natalie Frederick
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book, though somewhat sad, is really good. It is about a girl and her brother living in poverty - they are evicted from their house in the beginning of the book and end up living at a campgrounds. This book is one of those books that is written to help the reader empathize with worlds they may not know. I really enjoyed it, but it definitely made me feel a lot of things. I would suggest it to students, especially in order to help them have a larger worldview.
Raymond Gao
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
I didnt really like the plot but still a okay book
Lana Kamennof-sine
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fabulous book - so not what I had expected for a juvenile book plot. there was true savouring of the power of books
Mar 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Tori Underwood
Mar 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: spring-2017
This was a easy read and gave great insight to living in poverty. It was sad to see it from a young child's perspective. It made me wonder what it would be like to live in my car, motel, abandoned building, or tent. I definitely have more understanding for homeless people and children after reading this. I also have a new understanding. for children who been raised by parents with substance abuse problems.
Kelly Grimes
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought this book had a very interesting story line, but it didn't have very much depth. It talks about a girl who lives with her mom and brother, and her dad left her family a year ago. While this book was entertaining to read, it wasn't the type that I would chose to read over other books. Personally, I would recommend this book to a younger age group, or someone who just needs to read pages quickly. But, the characters were well developed, and they had emotions that were more than just on t ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Harper is named after her mother's favorite writer Harper Lee. Harper is an aspiring poet. Life is giving Harper a lot to write about these days. Dad has up and left leaving too many bills and not enough money and to top it off harper her brother Hemingway and her mother have been evicted. They move to the Knotty Pine Deluxe Motor Hotel and Harper has to stay home from school so her mother can work both day and night. Harper wants nothing more to read her poems on stage at school. Harper learns ...more
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
Judy Desetti
p243 grades 5-8

Subject matter for mature readers.
realistic fiction, poverty, homelessness, family, friendship, death, single parents, alcoholism, tragedy.

Story of a family that falls apart and spirals into poverty, eviction, and homelessness. The father developed alcoholism and has run away and left them penniless. Mother is a house cleaner struggling to feed the family and not able to pay rent. They are evicted and the family must leave everything behind and take only what fits into their car.
Megan Koval
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Also known as Harper is about a girl who is a writer and she is named after Harper Lee, her mom's favorite writer. Her father laughs at her trying to write and says she is never going to be a writer. He leaves Harper, her brother,Hem,and her mom and doesn't plan on coming back. Hem waits for his dad every day but he never comes. Since now they are on their own, Harper's mom can't make enough money to keep paying the rent to Mrs. Early. She is forced to leave her house immediately. They go to a ...more
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Class of 2014: Also Known As Harper 3 12 Jun 06, 2013 09:18AM  
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