My favorite book for children is Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. The book is about a girl named Harriet who keeps a journal about everything she encounters on a daily basis. She also records her thoughts and a feeling about what is happening to her as well as what is happening around her. Harriet likes being a spy and she often spies on her friends, neighbors, and family members. She records what she observes on her spy missions in her notebook. One day, her classmates steal her notebook and discover all the mean and hurtful things Harriet wrote about them. From here, everything for Harriet goes down hill until the end of the book.
I enjoy reading this book for several reasons. First, the inclusion of the journal in the novel will appeal to children, hopefully, encouraging them to want to write and record their lives. Also, the journal shows children that writing can be fun and not just something educational that they have to do in school. Second, I like Harriet the Spy because it teaches that it is bad to talk about people in a negative way. When Harriet’s journal is found, her classmates read all of the hurtful words Harriet had written about them. This discovery leads to Harriet being ostracized by her classmates. Harriet’s exclusion then leads to a downward spiral of events of mean tricks done to Harriet. I think that this is a good message for children because it teaches them to talk nicely about their peers and it shows them the consequences of being mean to others. Finally, regardless of all the messages Harriet the Spy gives, the book is just a fun and interesting story for children as well as adults.
I would have my students read Harriet the Spy when they are in the 5th grade. I think that 5th graders would get the messages the book is trying to make as well as the meaning it is trying to get across to students. I also think that 5th graders would be able to relate to it because they are the same age as Harriet is in the novel. After I have my student’s read the book, I would have them write a paper about how the novel relates to their lives.