New Release: Harriet Spies!


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There are a few more things you should know about Harriet Wermer:

  • She always tells the truth.
  • She’s loving spending her summer on Marble Island, where she is an A+ mystery-solver.
  • Okay, maybe she doesn’t always tell the truth.
  • Actually...she has a tendency to lie quite a bit.

Which is why, when one of the guests at her grandmother’s bed-and- breakfast finds that their treasured pair of binoculars has gone missing, no one believes Harriet when she said she had nothing to do with it.

But this is one time Harriet isn’t lying—and she knows that if she can find the binoculars and figure out who really took them, she can prove it.

With her cat, Matzo Ball, her grandmother’s basset hound, Moneypenny, and Harriet’s new friend, Clarence, helping her out, Harriet knows she can crack the case. But when the culprit isn’t who Harriet expects, it’s up to her to decide how important the truth really is.

JUST HARRIET and HARRIET SPIES are published by Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Nothing warms my heart more than authors branching into early middle grade readers. There's a sweet spot right between picture books and 300pg chapter books that kids need more access to. So when Elana started doing Harriet stories, I knew they were going to be so successful. 

Harriet is such a relatable MC that in almost everything she does, a child somewhere is going to see themselves. There are a lot of valuable lessons that can be learned from Harriet Spies (and Just Harriet!) that would allow these titles to be great books to use as whole group or book clubs in the classroom setting as well. 

When you think about lessons being taught; in the education world - the theme, you think about what can my child or student take away from this story line and apply to real life situations. In Harriet Spies, Harriet comes face to face with what exactly can happen when you lie, how lying gets you in more trouble in the end than just telling the truth from the beginning. Harriet also comes face to face with how first impressions are not always accurate. As adults we still do this, so to be able to discuss it and analyze that issue at a young age is a great start. 

Elana does a great job of writing for a younger audience, but with the opportunity to grow - with higher vocabulary being used and explaining the meanings. Teachers could then turn this into a great vocabulary activity and growth opportunity. 

Click the link for a fantastic teacher discussion guide: 


Elana K. Arnold is the award-winning author of many books for children and teens, including Just HarrietHarriet SpiesThe House that Wasn’t There,

the Printz Honor winner Damsel, the National Book Award finalist What Girls are Made Of, and the Global Read Aloud selection A Boy Called Bat. She is a member of the faculty at Hamline University’s MFA in writing for children and young adults program, and lives
in Huntington Beach, CA, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. You can find her online at


Dung (pronounced Dzung) Ho was born and raised in Hue citadel, Vietnam, where she studied graphic design at the Arts University. She is the New York Times–bestselling illustrator of many books for children, including Joanna Ho’s Eyes That Kiss in the Corners and Laura Ruby’s Me and Ms. Too. She finds inspiration in nature: the beauty of plants, flowers, and leaves. She also loves to draw interesting characters with unique personalities. She now lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. When she’s not drawing, she loves spending time cooking (eating), watching movies,
and tending her plants. Visit her at
or follow her on Instagram @dunghanhho.


There are a few things you should know about Harriet Wermer:

  • She just finished third grade.
  • She has a perfect cat named Matzo Ball.
  • She doesn’t always tell the truth.
  • She is very happy to be spending summer vacation away from home and her mom and dad and all the wonderful things she had been planning all year.

Okay, maybe that last one isn’t entirely the truth.

Of course, there’s nothing Harriet doesn’t like about Marble Island, the small island off the coast of California where her nanu runs a cozy little bed and breakfast. And nobody doesn’t love Moneypenny, Nanu’s old basset hound. But Harriet doesn’t like the fact that Dad made this decision without even asking her.

When Harriet arrives on Marble Island, however, she discovers that it’s full of surprises, and even a mystery. One that seems to involve her dad, back when he was a young boy living on Marble Island. One that Harriet is absolutely going to solve. And that’s the truth.

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