- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 4
- Lexile Measure: 0700 (What's this?)
- Series: Hattie Series
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Yearling; Reissue edition (December 23, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385735952
- ISBN-13: 978-0385735957
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 148 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hattie Big Sky (Hattie Series) Paperback – December 23, 2008
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★ “Larson creates a masterful picture of the homesteading experience and the people who persevered.”–School Library Journal, Starred
About the Author
After Kirby Larson heard a snippet of a story about her great-grandmother homesteading in eastern Montana, she spent three years working on this story. The author lives in Kenmore, WA.
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The story itself has many layers and is indicative of the depth of a lot of good literature (which I use in class to contrast against early Disney movies, many of which are rather simplistic and straightforward). However, as a reader, I think some of those layers are incomplete. The WWI angle regarding Americans' fear of immigrants was broached but not with any sense of resolution. Not that there needs to be a happy, simple resolution, but the storylines regarding the story's main immigrant and the group of antagonists that sought to maintain their brand of patriotism seemed rather abandoned late in the book. There is a lot of historical context that Larson brings up without going really deep enough into parts of them that might have illuminated the plot further.
Nonetheless, I think if readers are looking for a character that emphasizes the empowerment of women and (more importantly, as it turned out in this story) the empowerment of youth, Hattie Big Sky is a fairly extensive sketch of a personal narrative that should keep readers engaged. The main protagonist feels real without the sense of angst and embellished heroism we see in a lot of YA novels popularized and turned into movies. As a reader, I enjoyed the story, and as a teacher, I would recommend it to any literature teacher who is looking for alternatives to the Great Books that may be inaccessible to students who need a good stepping stone into deep extensive reading.
This novel reveals much more than the difficult life on a homestead in Montana. Sixteen-year-old Hattie Inez Brooks may be a single girl preparing for the adventure of a lifetime, but she had no idea what she would encounter under Montana's big skies. Within a handful of months, Hattie created lifelong friendships, cultivated a difficult terrain, stood up to bullies, and overcame obstacles time and time again.
Kirby Larson does a phenomenal job sharing a new perspective into the first World War. This book encourages readers to look past a person's name and appearance and to look deeper into the person's character. Another aspect of this book that I appreciated was that Larson fostered empathy for others though this pioneer's story.
This historical fiction novel is a wonderful read that I encourage others to put on their book list!