Hattie Big Sky

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Modern Age

Hattie Big Sky
Author: Larson, Kirby
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Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1917-1918
Geographic Area: North America
Country: United States
Topics: WWI, Westward Expansion
Genre: Fiction
Reading Age: Upper Middle Grade, Young Adult
Format: Chapter Book
Published: 2006

American History > Modern Age > WWI

This Newbery Honor winning, New York Times bestseller celebrates the true spirit of independence on the American frontier.

For most of her life, sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks has been shuttled from one distant relative to another. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, 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.

This young pioneer's story is lovingly stitched together from Kirby Larson’s own family history and the sights, sounds, and scents of homesteading life.

Emily's Review

This story was so good it made me want to homestead. And if you know me at all, you know that I am an indoor girl with horrendous allergies that make it nearly impossible for me to even be near a farm. Yet here I was, thinking if Hattie could do it, I too could make a go of it.

I want to crawl inside this book and live 3 miles north and west of Vida, Montana. Maybe I'll take up quilting.

I also really appreciated the commentary about patriotism. It was interesting to read about the way people treated German Americans during WWI - that is something I'd never read about before.

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