word craft


The History of Helpless Harry

The History of Helpless Harry

Knopf, 1980
illus. by Paul O. Zelin­sky
out of print; look for this book at your favorite library or used bookstore

if you liked this book, try:

A Variety of Amusing and Entertaining Adventures

What’s this book about?

Eleven-year-old Har­ry’s adven­tures, involv­ing lies, attempt­ed rob­bery, and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of mur­der, begin when his par­ents go away for a few days and he is left in the care of the young Miss Trowbridge.

Story Behind the Story

I had writ­ten, or so I thought, a real­is­tic tale about a boy—in an his­tor­i­cal context—who was being pushed about, and gen­er­al­ly bul­lied, until he turns things around and comes out unscathed and triumphant.

I sent the man­u­script to my agent. She gave me a call and sug­gest­ed we have lunch to talk about the book. Of course I met with her.

read more …

Awards and Recognition

  • Starred Review, School Library Jour­nal 1980
  • Starred Review, Book­list 1980
  • Book of the Month, PCRRT, 1980


“Sub­ti­tled ‘A Vari­ety of Amus­ing and Enter­tain­ing Adven­tures’, it is just that.” (School Library Jour­nal)

if you liked this book, try: