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Harriet the Spy
ISBN 0064471659 / 9780064471657 / 0-06-447165-9
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More than 30 years before it was made into a movie, Harriet the Spy was a groundbreaking book: its unflinchingly honest portrayal of childhood problems and emotions changed children's literature forever. Happily, neither Fitzhugh's style has dated nor her themes become obsolete, and it is still recognized as one of the finest children's novels around. The fascinating story centres around an intensely curious and intelligent girl, Harriet, who literally spies on people and writes about them in her secret notebook, trying to make sense of life's absurdities. When her classmates find her notebook and read her painfully blunt comments about them, Harriet finds herself a lonely outcast. Fitzhugh's writing is astonishingly vivid, real and engaging, and Harriet, by no means a typical, lovable heroine, is one of literature's most unforgettable characters. (Ages 8 to 12) [via]