Happy 50th Birthday, Harriet the Spy!

Harriet the Spy 50th Anniversary EditionGrowing up I wanted to be just like Harriet the Spy. I would spend afternoon after afternoon wandering our suburban neighborhood and “investigating” would-be crimes, always scribbling in my marbled composition book.

More than anything I envied Harriet’s freedom, her tenacity and above all, her dedication to her notebook. Years later, I’m still a notorious eavesdropper and people-watcher just like Harriet.

I’d like to think that it’s because of Louise Fitzhugh’s daring protagonist that I eventually became a journalist. And now, on the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication, I can’t help but reminisce about one of my favorite childhood treasures.

A recent article in Publisher’s Weekly reminded me I’m not the only writer awed and inspired by Harriet and her fierce independence. My 50th anniversary copy of Harriet the Spy is headed toward my mailbox (thanks, Amazon) and will no doubt be devoured just as voraciously as it was more than 15 years ago.

But for now, I’ll have to settle with one of my favorite bits of advice from Ole Golly. Happy birthday, Harriet—here’s to 50 more years of making people nervous!

“You know what? You’re an individual, and that makes people nervous. And it’s gonna keep making people nervous for the rest of your life.” – Ole Golly, Harriet the Spy

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