Tuesday, July 19, 2011

#87 - Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

2007 Honor Book

"For most of her life, sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks has been shuttled from one distant relative to another. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she summons the courage to leave Iowa and move all by herself to Vida, Montana , to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim. "At least now my letters will be more interesting," she writes to her good friend Charlie, who is fighting the Kaiser in France.

Under the big sky, Hattie braves hard weather, hard times, a cantankerous cow, and her own hopeless hand at the cookstove. Her quest to make a home is championed by her new neighbors Perilee Mueller, her German husband, and their children. For the first time in her life, Hattie feels part of a family, finding the strength to stand up against Traft Martin's schemes to buy her out and against increasing pressure to be a "loyal" American at a time when anything - or anyone - German is suspect. Despite daily trials, Hattie continues to work her uncle's claim until an unforeseen tragedy causes her to search her soul for the real meaning of home."

I loved this book - it definitely had a "little house on the prairie" feel to it. Hattie was a very strong, brave, generous, and hardworking girl. I can't imagine what it must have been like to make your own way far from anyone you know, and create a home, and farm with no experience at all. I love that the ending was left open - does she and her long time friend (who have written letters back and forth while he was at war) reunite once he returns home? Do they get married? I would love to see a second book!

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