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Hattie Big Sky (Readers Circle (Prebound))

Press: Perfection Learning (December 1, 2007)
Author Name:Larson, Kirby


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.
From the Hardcover edition.


★ " Larson creates a masterful picture of the homesteading experience and the people who persevered." - School Library Journal, Starred★ "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.From the Hardcover edition.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

December 19, 1917 Arlington, Iowa Dear Charlie, Miss Simpson starts every day with a reminder to pray for you—and all the other boys who enlisted. 
Well, I say we should pray for the Kaiser—he’s going to need those prayers once he meets you! I ran into your mother today at Uncle Holt’s store.
She said word is you are heading for England soon, France after that.
I won’t hardly be able to look at the map behind Miss Simpson’s desk now; it will only remind me of how far you are from Arlington.
Whiskers says to tell you he’s doing fine.
It’s been so cold, I’ve been letting him sleep in my bedroom.
If Aunt Ivy knew, she’d pitch a fit.
Thank goodness she finally decided I was too big to switch or my legs would be striped for certain.
You should see Aunt Ivy.
She’s made herself a cunning white envelope of a hat with a bright red cross stitched on the edge.
She wears it to all the Red Cross meetings.
Guess she wants to make sure everybody knows she’s a paid-up member.
She’s been acting odd lately; even asked me this morning how was I feeling.
First time in years she’s inquired about my health.
Maybe this Red Cross work has softened her heart.
Mildred Powell’s knitting her fifth pair of socks; they’re not all for you, so don’t get swell-headed.
She’s knitting them for the Red Cross.
All the girls at school are.
But I suspect the nicest pair she knits will be for you.
You must cut quite the figure in your uniform.
A figure eight! (Ha, ha.) Seriously, I am certain you are going to make us all proud.
Aunt Ivy’s home from her meeting and calling for me.
I’ll sign off now but will write again soon.
Your school friend, Hattie Inez Brooks I blotted the letter and slipped it in an envelope.
Aunt Ivy wouldn’t think twice about reading anything she found lying around, even if it was in my own room, on my own desk.
“Hattie,” Aunt Ivy called again.
“Come down here!” To be on the safe side, I slipped the envelope under my pillow, still damp from my good cry last night.
Not that I was like Mildred Powell, who hadn’t stopped boo-hooing since Charlie left.
Only Mr.
Whiskers and my pillow knew about my tears in the dark over Charlie.
I did fret over his safety, but it was pure and sinful selfishness that wet my eyes at night.
In all my sixteen years, Charlie Hawley was one of the nicest things to happen to me.
It was him who’d stuck up for me when I first came to live with Aunt Ivy and Uncle Holt, so shy I couldn’t get my own name out.
He’d walked me to school that very first day and every day after.
Charlie was the one who’d brought me Mr.
Whiskers, a sorry-looking tomcat who purred his way into my heart.
The one who’d taught me how to pitch, and me a southpaw.
So maybe I did spend a night now and then dreaming silly girl dreams about him, even though everyone knew he was sweet on Mildred.
My bounce-around life had taught me that dreams were dangerous things—they look solid in your mind, but you just try to reach for them.
It’s like gathering clouds.
The class had voted to see Charlie off at the station.
Mildred clung to his arm.
His father clapped him on the back so often, I was certain he’d end up bruised.
Miss Simpson made a dull speech as she presented Charlie with a gift from the school: a wool stocking cap and some stationery.
“Time to get aboard, son,” the conductor called.
Something shifted in my heart as Charlie swung his foot up onto the train steps.
I had told myself to hang back—didn’t want to be lumped in with someone like Mildred—but I found myself running up to him and slipping something in his hand.
“For luck!” I said.
He glanced at the object and smiled.
With a final wave, he boarded the train.
“Oh, Charlie!” Mildred leaned on Mrs.
Hawley and sobbed.
“There, there.” Charlie’s mother patted Mildred’s back.
Hawley took a bandanna from his pocket and made a big show of wiping his forehead.
I pretended not to notice that he dabbed at his eyes, too.
The others made their way slowly down the platform, back to their cars.
I stood watching the train a bit longer, picturing Charlie patting the pocket where he’d placed the wishing stone I’d given him.
He was the one who’d taught me about those, too.
“Look for the black ones,” he’d told me.
“With the white ring around the middle.
If you throw them over your left shoulder and make a wish, it’s sure to come true.” He threw his wishing rocks with abandon and laughed at me for not tossing even one.
My wish wasn’t the kind that could be granted by wishing rocks.
And now two months had passed since Charlie stepped on that train.
With him gone, life was like a batch of biscuits without the baking powder: flat, flat, flat.
“Hattie!” Aunt Ivy’s voice was a warning.
“Yes, ma’am!” I scurried down the stairs.
She was holding court in her brown leather chair.
Uncle Holt was settled into the hickory rocker, a stack of news- papers on his lap.
I slipped into the parlor and picked up my project, a pathetic pair of socks I’d started back in October when Charlie enlisted.
If the war lasted five more years, they might actually get finished.
I held them up, peering through a filigree of dropped stitches.
Not even a good chum like Charlie could be expected to wear these.
“I had a lovely visit with Iantha Wells today.” Aunt Ivy unpinned her Red Cross hat.
“You remember Iantha, don’t you, Holt?” “Hmmm.” Uncle Holt shook the newspaper into shape.
“I told her what a fine help you were around here, Hattie.” I dropped another stitch.
To hear her tell it most days, there was no end to my flaws in the domesticity department.
“I myself never finished high school.
Not any sense in it for some girls.” Uncle Holt lowered one corner of the paper.
I dropped another stitch.
Something was up.
“No sense at all.
Not when there’s folks like Iantha Wells needing help at her boardinghouse.” There.
It was out.
Now I knew why she had been so kind to me lately.
She’d found a way to get rid of me.From the Hardcover edition.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From AudioFile

Orphaned at age 16, Hattie longs for a place where folks will welcome her and become her family. 
When an uncle leaves her a claim of 320 acres in Montana, she hastens to make a home of her own, unprepared for life on the prairie in the brutal winter of 1918.
With considerable humor, Kirsten Potter employs a variety of old-fashioned Western accents to differentiate the cast of colorful characters.
Potter excels at conveying the emotions that run high as Hattie faces the challenges of homestead life, including the bigotry of neighbors against the German-American friends who have helped her in every way.
Meticulous research in archives and family materials gives this saga an authenticity that will captivate listeners.
© AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Children's Books,Growing Up & Facts of Life,Family Life,Orphans & Foster Homes,Literature & Fiction,Historical Fiction,United States,1900s

 PDF Download And Online Read: Hattie Big Sky (Readers Circle (Prebound))

Comment List (Total:18)

  •     This novel is very well written, but unfortunately, at least to me (21 year old male college student) the subject matter of the novel was very bland and repetitive. We are constantly reading about Hattie's on-goings, which are non-to-thrilling being on a farm in the middle of Montana. However, Hattie is a great character, and so are many of the others in the story, such as the wild and quirky Rooster Jim. By no means is the literary quality of this book severely lacking; it's simply the dullness of the setting in this realistic novel, which makes it difficult to get through for myself. I would imagine anyone with an interest in the early 1900's farm-life tales would greatly enjoy this book, as well as anyone interested in a well-told adventure about a growing, capable, and extraordinary sixteen-year-old girl.

  •     The author had me fooled with her first person narrative. She kept me reading long after bedtime. Hattie and the way she handled the struggles of a homestead at the age of 16 is...

  •     Good read. I would have liked more finality to the book. I guess that is what sequels are for.

  •     I really enjoyed this book....so much so that I read the sequel!

  •     This is a wonderful story of a young girl who inherits property in Montana. The author, Kirby Larson, makes the reader a part of the book. This is a very interesting read.

  •     Nice story

  •     My 11 year old daughters were required to read this for school. We all three enjoyed the book very much. Great read for middle school students.

  •     Great read for all ages.

  •     On a day in late November, 1917, a letter bearing a Montana return address arrived for Hattie. Enclosed were two notes.

  •     Great story about homesteading in MT around the time of WW I.

  •     It was an amazing experience to spend some time as a homesteader.What a winter.Going to the privy when it's forty-five below, no thanks.

  •     Hattie Big Sky by Kirby LarsonThis 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!

  •     This is an engaging historical narrative about a young girl who attempts to fulfill her uncle's claim during WWI. It is very interesting to see how Hattie survives out on her own at such a young age, and also how she realizes that she is not really alone, but receives much help from kind neighbors, including a German immigrant who experiences racial prejudice due to his common nationality with the enemy during the war.

  •     Read this book with my ten year old daughter. The strength of Hattie 's character and hard work make an excellent roll model for a Young girl. Set at the time of war made many interesting discussions about topics not usually discussed in fifth grade. The discrimination against Germans, like Karl, helped he see some of the tragedy of war. Another great theme is that of bullies and being bullied. Hattie knew she couldn't stand by and do nothing while a man is bullied but had to over come great fear to so what she knew was right.

  •     I use this book for an EFL literature class, and my students find it pretty accessible to them. I enjoyed reading it along with them over a five-week sequence, as it highlights a strong female character in a difficult environment. There's plenty of material in the book from which to garner discussion in class, something any EFL reading teacher looks for in their students as a sign of emerging fluency.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.

  •     Loved it , I specially liked the main characters strength and warmth. A great book for any age. I will go on to book number two.

  •     This is my first ever book review as I feel compelled to write a little about my experience with this book. I purchased the book not realising it was aimed at young adults and when it arrived, I was a little annoyed at myself for buying so rashly. But, then I thought back to childhood holidays at our fishing shack and my aunt reading my cousin's books (written for young adults) and so I gave Hattie Big Sky a go. And I'm so pleased I did because I couldn't put it down and every night I couldn't wait to finish up and get to bed and start reading.It's a delightful, inspiring story of a young girl facing unbelievable challenges in the mid west. Beautifully portrayed, the story rings true to me.I'm 42. An avid reader. And this is one of the best books I've read for a few months.Sarah

  •     I thought this book was very interesting and even though it didn't end like I thought it would, I was not disappointed in the least.


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