Hattie Big Sky

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This is a really great book with a brave 16 year old main character named Hattie.  She’s an orphan living, quite joylessly, in the mid west with an aunt and uncle.  Another uncle (with a less than stellar past) has left her his homestead in Montana in his will.  This is what Hattie has always wanted....a home of her very own, instead of shuffling between relatives.Well, Hattie takes off to the wilds of 1918 Montana on her own to claim the land she has been given.  She arrives at her new home (shack) and spends her first night.  The adventure really begins.Hattie has one year to settle the homestead on her own or else she will lose it.  She starts this endeavor in the bitter cold months and we stay the year with Hattie and are with her all the way to however it ends.  She goes through blizzards and droughts and other physical hardships.  Her heart, courage and kindness are greatly tested too.  She makes friends and shares their successes and tragedies and they help her with hers.Hattie not only is a fighter to work the land, she is also a talented writer.  Her friend, Charlie, is in Europe fighting in WW1.  She writes to him about her life in Montana and she also writes articles for the town newspaper.  There are settlers in the area of German descent whom Hattie befriends and defends when anti German feelings surround them.Hattie Big Sky was a 2007 Newbery Honor Book.  The reading level probably is for 6th grade and up, but would appeal to younger readers also, particularly those who love to read historical fiction.  Hattie Big Sky is a one year adventure story that rips along without being over sentimentalized.....and what does happen to that land claim at the end of the year?

304 pages   Ages  11 -15   978-0385735957

Sequel:  Hattie Ever After

Read Alikes:  Boston Jane books; Bread and Roses; Our Only May Amelia; Lyddie; Sarah BIshop

Recommended by:  Rosemarie Kirstenmacher, Maryland USA

Book Pairing:  Pair this books with World War I (Letters From the Homefront) by Linda S. George

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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.

Used by permission of the publisher, Scholastic.com.  Guided reading level V

Author info:

Kirby Larson is the acclaimed author of the 2007 Newbery Honor Book Hattie Big Sky and its sequel Hattie Ever After, as well as The Friendship Doll, and Dear America: The Fences Between Us. She has also co-written a number of picture books, including the award-winning Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival; and Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle. She lives in Washington State with her husband and Winston the Wonder Dog.

Used by permission of the publisher, Scholastic.com

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