Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May Grades 3-4 Book Club Discussion: Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

For May's book club discussion, we read Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. Aiden, Cadence, Cameron, Claire, Dylan, Ellie, Isabella, and Maida were present. This is some of what we discussed.


"Thirty-two 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, it has neither dated nor become obsolete and remains one of the best children's novels ever written. The fascinating story is about an intensely curious and intelligent girl, 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, loveable heroine, is one of literature's most unforgettable characters."-amazon.com


Do you know what a spy is?

-They go undercover.
-They can be good or bad and spy on good or bad people.
 

Do you know any spies? Have you ever spied on someone?

-I spy on my parents when they're talking.
-I spied on Scarlet and Avery.
-My mom and dad had a conversation that we were staying in Jamestown another year. 
-Elly and Claire.
-I spied with my cousins on my sister.
-My brother stole candy. I followed him, climbed a tree and found his hiding spot. Later, I told my mom that he stole the candy. He got in trouble.
   

Would you like it if someone spied on you?

-No
-No
-No
-No, I'd just find them
-Because it's mean. 
-Because you might be doing something private.
-Because it's not their business.
-Because people might be wrong in what they're thinking about you. 


What is Harriet carrying on the cover of the book? How are these items helpful to spies?

-Notebook and flashlight
-She writes everything down in the notebook and she can use the flashlight if it's dark out


In what city does this story take place? Have you ever been there?

-New York City
-Visited my grandparents
-I went to Manhattan because it's very busy and it smells.


Do you talk about people behind their backs? Would you like it if people talked about you behind your back?

-Yes and no.
-Yes and no.
-Yes and no.
-Sometimes I say nice things and sometimes I say mean things.
-I talk behind my sister's back (some nice and some mean)
-I talk behind Maida's back.


Do you think it is important to get to know people before you judge them?

-Yes because they could be much different than what you thought. You might think they look weird but they're actually nice.
-Yes. That happened to my brother. People won't meet him properly. Just because of how good he is, they don't want to get to know him. 
-My brother told me that, just because he was wearing glasses, kids at school didn't want to hang out with him. That's just about his looks. They assume things about him and think that I'm like him.
-Yes because, even if someone has a strange or something, it's not how they act or who they are.
-Yes, you shouldn't just a person by their "cover".
-If you judge someone before getting to know them, you can start a bad relationship.   


Do you think Harriet was trying to hurt anyone's feelings, or was she just being honest? Does it matter whether or not she meant to hurt people's feelings or not? (The end result is the same...)

-She was being honest because she probably wouldn't have written things that weren't true about people. She never intended for the notebook to be seen.
-I think she's being honest because she would have known that it would hurt people's feelings.
-I don't think that she was trying to hurt anyone's feelings. 
-She didn't feel that bad about people seeing the notebook.
-Instead of apologizing, she just did mean things back to them. She's a brat.   


What would happen if somebody found your private notebook, if you kept one?

-I'd scream and fly to Mars.
-I would apologize.
-Instead of having a diary, I would have a diary with a lock.
   
In June, the members of all of the Book Clubs (Grades 3-4, Grades 5-6 and Grades 7 and Up) are invited to come discuss their favorite books on Wednesday, June 15 at 3:00 p.m. We will not be reading any specific books during June, July or August, but we will be sharing books that we've read and would like to recommend to others. Or books that we've disliked. Or books that we can't wait to read. It's an open discussion. Snacks will be provided. Get some great ideas for Summer Reading!
 

January Grades 3-4 Book Club: Paper Things

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