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Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
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Hattie Big Sky (edition 2008)

by Kirby Larson

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1,150857,093 (4.12)70
Member:Stevejm51
Title:Hattie Big Sky
Authors:Kirby Larson
Info:Yearling (2008), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

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Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
A satisfying mix of excitement, history, & interesting, authentic characters, leavened with just enough natural humor. I doubt I'll read the sequel, though, as I'm just tired out from reading so much historical fiction.

(Larson was inspired by a real ancestor, but had to fill in so many gaps, apparently, that it's more valid to call this fiction than biography.) ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
1917 a young girl inherits a homestead in Montana
  ccsdss | Feb 23, 2016 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It represented for me a combination of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books I read as a girl and Mildred Walker's Winter Wheat that I have read more than once in adulthood. Hattie is a likable, strong character, and the friendships she makes as a homesteader are heartfelt. It was interesting to note in the forward that the story was based on the life of the author's step-great-grandmother.

I read this book as a mini book group with several teachers, and one teacher remarked how she was surprised that Native Americans were never mentioned in one way or another in the book. Wouldn't homesteaders living in Wolf Point, Montana have been near native groups? Students could conduct research on this topic, as I do not know whether the representation was accurate or not. Also, the book presents themes of prejudice, as anyone with a German name was open to ostracism during World War I. Students could explore the history of this prejudice in Montana, perhaps talking to relatives or learning stories from those who may have lived during the time.

Another teaching point brought up by members of my book group had to do with aspects of bullying that occurred and how Hattie stood up to it. One example was the character Mr. Ebgard, who was being bullied by townspeople due to his German heritage. Hattie diffused a potential humiliating situation for Mr. Ebgard by changing the subject and insisting she had an appointment with him. In another situation (I don't recall these details as well), Hattie asks Traft Martin for a dance to distract him from an altercation with another townsperson. In both situations, she saw a threat to an individual and chose to act by drawing attention toward herself in a peaceful way, creatively halting the conflict. These are good lessons for kids. ( )
  SueStolp | Feb 22, 2016 |
Inspired by the author's great-grandmother who proved a homesteader's claim on her own in Montana. Sixteen-year-old Hattie is an orphan who has been shuttled around from relative to relative until the day she receives a letter from her Uncle Chester and learns that she has inherited his claim on his death and has a year to prove it up. The claim is 320 acres with a very rough shack, a cow and a horse. With the help of her distant neighbors Perilee and Karl, Rooster Jim and Leafie, Hattie plunges into the hard work of fencing her claim, planting crops and generally surviving life on the prairie. In the end, "honyocker" Hattie loses her claim but is a more mature, stronger woman for the experience. Would work as Christian fiction as she prays often, asking the Lord for help. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I loved the characters, their courage, the involved story (not just a romance disguised as a historical novel).

I really appreciated the author's research into Montana homesteaders (including her great grandmother) and prejudice against Germans during World War I. She made it all personal and real, not a history lesson. ( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (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.

added by kthomp25 | editThe Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Elizabeth Bush
 
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:43 -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)

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