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Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
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Hattie Big Sky

by Kirby Larson

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1,003768,517 (4.12)54
1910s (13) 2007 (8) American West (10) children's (12) family (10) farming (22) fiction (57) friendship (15) frontier (13) girls (10) historical (26) historical fiction (165) homestead (15) homesteading (68) Montana (114) Newbery (26) Newbery Honor (60) orphan (25) orphans (36) pioneer life (14) pioneers (18) prejudice (15) self-reliance (13) survival (15) teen (15) to-read (19) WWI (99) YA (38) young adult (48) young adult fiction (21)
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» See also 54 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
Hattie Big Sky looks at homesteading from a less common perspective because it is set in the 20th century, while most readers are probably accustomed to the pioneer stories of the 1800s. The differences in technology are sometimes apparent, but the influence of WWI is more striking. Kirby Larson does a good job showing, through Hattie's closest friends, the anti-German sentiments of the time. I don't know of many other novels that illustrate the WWI homefront for younger readers.
  vsoler | Jun 7, 2014 |
A sixteen year old girl tries to establish a homestead in Montana after the death of her uncle during World War I. The story easily can be related to our current circumstances. A great read! ( )
  AmberEgan | May 13, 2014 |
I finally got around to reading this lovely Newbery Award winner by Seattle author, Kirby Larson. Hattie, inherits a farm in Montana. She sets out by train to continue the work her uncle had started in order to claim it for himself. 16-year old Hattie finds the work much harder than she expected, but in that frontier ranching area she discovers many new friends. Her friend, Charlie, is a airplane mechanic in the European theater of WWI. What the story does best is to show the desolation and the strong camaraderie of neighbors, and the heartbreak of death from influenza and having to give up your claim on land you've worked so hard to plant and harvest. Well written historical fiction for middle grade students. ( )
  brangwinn | Mar 22, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book. I assigned it for girls' book club but it was also prep for reading "Hattie Ever After" for MSBA. I really enjoyed it. Hattie is a great protagonist and I hope the girls of book club want to be more like her. ( )
  scote23 | Dec 26, 2013 |
For most of her life, sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks has been shuttled from one distant relative to another. She summons the courage to leave Iowa and move all by herself to Vida, Montana, to prove up on her late uncle’s homestead claim.Under the big sky, Hattie braves hard weather, hard times, a cantankerous cow, and her own hopeless hand at the cookstove. Her quest to make a home is championed by new neighbors Perilee Mueller, her German husband, and their children. For the first time in her life, Hattie feels part of a family, finding the strength to stand up against Traft Martin’s schemes to buy her out and against increasing pressure to be a "loyal" American at a time when anything—or anyone—German is suspect. Despite daily trials, Hattie continues to work her uncle’s claim until an unforeseen tragedy causes her to search her soul for the real meaning of home.She looks forward to her newfound freedom and a life of adventure as a homesteader. ( )
  MayaB.B3 | Oct 17, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
Elizabeth Bush (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March 2007 (Vol. 60, No. 7))
There’s not much future in Iowa for sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks, whose guardian aunt is urging her to quit school and take a domestic job, so the opportunity to prove up a Montana homestead claim left to her by a deceased uncle seems a longshot worth taking. She’ll have the better part of one year to complete the fencing, bring forty acres under cultivation, and raise the nearly forty-dollar fee to own the property free and clear. Neighbors welcome her and assist wherever they can—advising on crop choice, stretching fence wire in spare moments, donating a few chickens, sharing heaving equipment, and offering moral support and friendship. But Hattie’s particular closeness with the family of German immigrant Karl Mueller and his American wife, Perilee, catches the attention of Traft Martin, scion of a wealthy ranching family and head of a nativist contingent of townsfolk who whip up anti-German sentiments as World War I rages in Europe and claims the lives of American soldiers. Martin keeps Hattie wary and off balance—charming her with hints of romance one moment, cajoling her to sell her farm the next; reasoning with her about making ill-advised friendships, and then turning to thinly veiled threats. Hattie’s determination and loyalty to the Muellers is unshakable, but just when it looks like she will succeed, Nature throws a knockout punch worse than anything Martin or his ilk could devise. Larson’s tale is inspired by an ancestor who, as a single young woman, did prove up a Montana claim, but she turns to more common experiences of failure to fashion Hattie’s fictional story. With the literary Great Plains overpopulated by plucky 1800s girls on covered wagons, it’s refreshing to bring the homestead experience into the twentieth century and meet a strong-willed young woman who meets failure with dignity, shoulders her debts with good-natured resolve, and plans her future with cautious optimism. Review Code: R -- Recommended. (c) Copyright 2006, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2006, Delacorte, 289p., $17.99 and $15.95. Grades 6-9.

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December 19, 1917 Arlington, Iowa

Dear Charlie, Miss Simpson starts every day with a reminder to pray for you--and all the other boys who enlisted.
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I leaned back against the rough siding of Uncle Chester’s house and studied that Montana sky. I know the same sky hangs over Iowa – over Charlie in France, for that matter – but I don't think it looks like this anywhere else in the world. There weren't many trees or mountains to catch at that sky and keep it low. No, it stretched out high and smooth and far, like a heavenly quilt on an unseen frame.
My pa used to say that hell would be a holiday for someone from eastern Montana.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385733135, Hardcover)

Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle's homesteading claim.
For years, sixteen-year-old Hattie's been shuttled between relatives. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim near Vida, Montana. With a stubborn stick-to-itiveness, Hattie faces frost, drought and blizzards. Despite many hardships, Hattie forges ahead, sharing her adventures with her friends--especially Charlie, fighting in France--through letters and articles for her hometown paper.

Her backbreaking quest for a home is lightened by her neighbors, the Muellers. But she feels threatened by pressure to be a "Loyal" American, forbidding friendships with folks of German descent. Despite everything, Hattie's determined to stay until a tragedy causes her to discover the true meaning of home.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:49 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After inheriting her uncle's homesteading claim in Montana, sixteen-year-old orphan Hattie Brooks travels from Iowa in 1917 to make a home for herself and encounters some unexpected problems related to the war being fought in Europe. Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle's homesteading claim. For years, sixteen-year-old Hattie's been shuttled between relatives. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim near Vida, Montana. With a stubborn stick-to-itiveness, Hattie faces frost, drought and blizzards. Despite many hardships, Hattie forges ahead, sharing her adventures with her friends--especially Charlie, fighting in France--through letters and articles for her hometown paper. Her backbreaking quest for a home is lightened by her neighbors, the Muellers. But she feels threatened by pressure to be a "Loyal" American, forbidding friendships with folks of German descent. Despite everything, Hattie's determined to stay until a tragedy causes her to discover the true meaning of home.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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