Love it, love it, lovvvve it! Ann Haywood Leal, a new-to-me author, has created this wonderful middle grade book that I will be recommending up and down to everyone. Beautifully constructed characters, funny tidbits, a great message, and pure love just run out of this book. You'll want to order it for your library, your kids, your nieces and nephews, birthday gifts, everything! I'm a big fan of little Harper Lee Morgan and I know you will be too.
Also Known as Harper takes on the incredibly difficult issue of homelessness in such a wondrous and hope-filled way. Harper Lee Morgan, her younger brother Hemingway, and her mother, have just been evicted from their home. With no family to go to and no money for an apartment, the family moves into a rundown motel and Harper is forced to skip school to take care of her little brother while Mama tries to work as many jobs as she can, earning the family some money.
Harper is an aspiring poet, writing beautiful, heartfelt poems that are dispersed among the pages of the book. She hates having to stay home from school, wanting nothing more than to submit her poems for a poetry contest and be able to be up on stage, reading those poems allowed. Instead, she's stuck at a motel, caring for Hemingway. While sitting at that motel all day, Harper and Hemingway begin meeting some interesting characters, people with complex lives and big personalities, teaching Harper more about herself everyday. They learn that living in a motel, or even outside, is not that uncommon, and the people forced into those situations are some of the most kind, loving, and human individuals in the world.
Oh, Harper. What a beautiful girl you are. This character is going to stick with you for a very long time once the book is over...her poems being wonderfully written, she's obviously very mature beyond her years. The topic of homelessness couldn't come at a better time in our society and Also Known as Harper may help to induce a strong sense of compassion in kids. Maybe for a classmate living at a shelter or as a comfort in a family facing money difficulties. This is a wonderful little book and I recommend it to all of you. Go buy it, pre-order it, borrow it...just get your hands on it.
And speaking of getting your hands on it, I'm going to be giving away some copies of Also Known as Harper, here in the near future! I have an interview with the amazingly talented author tomorrow, so check back then to enter!
To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.
Also Known as Harper
Ann Haywood Leal