Hattie Big Sky

Kirby Larson

Book - 2006

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 l...ate 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.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Delacorte Press c2006.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
289 p. ; 22 cm
Awards
A Junior Library Guild selection.
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (p. 289).
ISBN
0385733135
0385903324
9780385733137
9780385903325
Main Author
Kirby Larson (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

/*Starred Review*/ In this engaging historical novel set in 1918, 16-year-old orphan Hattie Brooks leaves Iowa and travels to a Montana homestead inherited from her uncle. In the beautiful but harsh setting, she has less than a year to fence and cultivate the land in order to keep it. Neighbors who welcome Hattie help heal the hurt she has suffered from years of feeling unwanted. Chapters open with short articles that Hattie writes for an Iowa newspaper or her lively letters to a friend and possible beau who is in the military in France. The authentic first-person narrative, full of hope and anxiety, effectively portrays Hattie's struggles as a young woman with limited options, a homesteader facing terrible odds, and a loyal citizen confused about the war and the local anti-German bias that endangers her new friends. Larson, whose great-grandmother homesteaded alone in Montana, read dozens of homesteaders' journals and based scenes in the book on real events. Writing in figurative language that draws on nature and domestic detail to infuse her story with the sounds, smells, and sights of the prairie, she creates a richly textured novel full of memorable characters. ((Reviewed September 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Against the backdrop of WWI, 16-year old orphan Hattie sets out from Iowa to take up her late uncle's homestead claim in Montana; a Newbery Honor book. Ages 12-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 6-8 Larson relates a heartwarming yet poignant story about homesteading in early-20th-century Montana. Until the age of 16, orphan Hattie Brooks lived with whichever relative needed extra household help. Then she receives a letter telling her of an inheritance from her Uncle Chester, whom she had never met. Hattie is to receive his land claim, the house and its contents, one horse, and one cow. When she arrives from Iowa, she learns that she has 10 months to cultivate 40 acres and set 480 rods of fence, or lose the claim. While the story relates the hardships of frontier life and how Hattie proved up to the challenge, it also tells of World War I bigotry and discrimination toward German Americans. Hattie's sense of humor, determination, and optimism come through in her letters to her friend Charlie, who is serving in the military in France, and through letters to her Uncle Holt, which are published in his hometown newspaper. Larson's vivid descriptions of the harshness of the work and the extreme climates, and the strength that comes from true friendship, create a masterful picture of the homesteading experience and the people who persevered. Hattie's courage and fortitude are a tribute to them. Sharon Morrison, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, OK [Page 140]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

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.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

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.