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Hattie Big Sky


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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.


Gr 6-10-Sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks does her best to improve her late Uncle Chester's homestead claim in eastern Montana in this recording of Kirby Larson's Newbery Honor Book (Delacorte, 2006) set in 1918. Homesteading is always hard, but it's even more difficult for a woman going it alone during World War I. Hattie's life is full of never-ending chores, including fencing and cultivating the land, and she must find the strength to fend off the schemes of a neighboring rancher to buy out her claim. The hardships and trials the teen faces are balanced by the friends she makes, including the Muellers, who encounter anti-German sentiment. Larson's inclusion of this element provides added realism to the novel. The ideas of patriotism, loyalty, and morality during war are explored in an obvious parallel to today's war in Iraq. Letters from Hattie's school chum Charlie, who is stationed in France, and her Uncle Holt in Iowa keep the story from feeling isolated. Actress Kirsten Potter provides deft narration, giving a few characters distinctive voices, but for the most part, she lets the story's own cadence carry it along. Some of the recipes mentioned, a bibliography, and a short explanatory note round off the recording. A very good choice for both public and school libraries.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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.

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

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