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Hattie Big Sky Hardcover – September 26, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385733135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385733137
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,684,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*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. Kathleen Odean
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

★ “Larson creates a masterful picture of the homesteading experience and the people who persevered.”–School Library Journal, Starred


From the Trade Paperback edition.

More About the Author

I was born at Fort Lawton Army Hospital in Seattle and haven't moved very far from there since. When I was a senior in high school, I got into an argument with a guy in the school library. Four years later, we were married. We have a son, Tyler, who lives in Brooklyn and works in film and TV; a daughter, Quinn, who is such a terrific interior designer she can even make our house look good and a son-in-law, Matt, who thinks he has a full-time job as an accountant but his real job is helping me with computer problems.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 97 customer reviews
This book is great for both young teens and adults alike.
Didisis
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson is an extremely well written book based on life of a young female working to be a Montana farmer during World War One.
Amazon Customer
Kirby Larson creates a cast of characters who are both endearing and believable and writes a story that touches the heart.
Quinn Wyatt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 64 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Imagine that you're a children's librarian surrounded by piles and piles of books for kids, all published in the year 2006. How do you choose amongst your various titles to figure out what to read next? Do you pluck up the books with the shiny foil covers and catchy titles? Do you zero in on the 400+ page titles that all have "Book One" or "First In the [blank] Trilogy" somewhere on the cover? Do you stick only to those books written by authors you've loved time and again? For me, the decision to sit down and read, "Hattie Big Sky" was helped immensely by this first sentence on the authorial bookflap: "Thanks to her eighth-grade teacher, Kirby Larson maintained a healthy lack of interest in history until she heard a snippet of a story about her great-grandmother's homesteading by herself in eastern Montana." And we're off! As someone who also couldn't have cared less about history and historical fiction for most of her natural born life, Larson's declaration right from the start that history was never her bag came as quite the wake-up call. Plus the result of her newfound interest in history is this remarkable little book recounting a single girl's wish to go out into the world and prove herself to others. You couldn't have it any other way.

It's December in 1917. American involvement in WWI is in full swing and Hattie Brooks has just found herself the proud new owner 320 acres of land on a homestead claim in Montana. Left to her by a hitherto unknown uncle, this unexpected inheritance is just the thing Hattie's been looking for. Orphaned when she was young, the girl has bounced from family member to family member so often that she feels a little like Hattie Here-and-There. Now, with a big beautiful piece of land entirely her own she feels like she's Hattie Big Sky.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on December 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
To me, the main criteria for a good book is a cast of great characters, and this book definitely has that. Hattie is a very mature 16-year-old. She is an orphan who has been raised by first one relative and then another, and now she finds that she has inherited a homestead from an uncle that she never really knew. Her best friend has just joined the army to go fight the Kaiser in Germany at the outbreak of World War I. Hattie boards a train with her cat, Mr. Whiskers, to claim her new home in Montana.

When she arrives, she discovers that she will be required to finish "proving up" on the homestead...build an enormous amount of fence, and plant eighty of the three-hundred-and-twenty acres in wheat and flax, and she only has eight months left to accomplish this. The house is a one-room cabin that is barely habitable, and winter has Montana in its grip. Her livestock consists of a very congenial horse, and a contentious cow.

Hattie is a very resourceful girl, but life is difficult. Most of her new neighbors become fast friends, but some desperately want to claim her land for their own. Her dear friends, the Mullers, suffer bad treatment because of their German heritage and the War.

This is a fast-paced story of adventure with friendship, heartbreak, and joy. The believable characters will remain with you long after you have read the book, and the handsome villain isn't all bad. The suspense in this very entertaining book builds to a surprising climax that I didn't anticipate. Larson adds a couple of interesting-looking recipes in the back of the book that I'm anxious to try out, along with a bibliography of other great reading about the American West and homesteading.

Reviewed by: Grandma Bev
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Cat Walker on January 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Hattie Big Sky is purportedly a story about a teen having the courage to leave a safe, if unpleasant, home in Iowa to `prove up' (work) her deceased uncle's claim in Montana; hence, the `Big Sky' of the title. The story sounds simple. It takes courage in 1914 or any time for a young girl of only sixteen years to travel to a completely strange country (read, Montana) many miles from anyone or anything she has ever known in order to work really hard on the land by building fences and plowing and planting the land, not to speak of simply living in a very sketchy shack without electricity, running water, a bathroom, or the skills to do much of anything. This is the plot.

What happens to that plot, and the way the story itself becomes secondary to the question, still a burning one in 2007, of prejudice, is so well written into the fabric of the narrative that it is only upon completion of the book that you realize the real intent of the author. The much more important and interesting story of how Hattie begins to see and comprehend the vile nature of prejudice takes over the story entirely. The story of the day-to-day doings of Hattie and her neighbors, from escaping a herd of wild horses to the mundane building of a fence and tending of chickens, to a dance, a Sunday church meeting, and the plowing of the field, all underlie the vitriolic passages of the nature of hatred unbounded by knowledge or understanding. The story of the prejudice rockets along on these doings, overriding them with its life-threatening urgency. The one time Hattie almost goes over to the dark side is so well written that the reader is yelling "No! Don't think that way! You can't believe him! He (Traft) is ignorant and you can't make him understand!
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