Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hattie Big Sky, Posted by Mrs. Schauer

HATTIE BIG SKY, by Kirby Larson
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Middle/Upper Grades
Vocabulary Quiz Available
Audiobook Available in HS Library

I listened to the audio book for this one, and time definitely flew as I was swept away to another time and place, into the life of Hattie Brooks, a sixteen year old orphan who inherits 320 acres from her uncle and moves all by herself, from Arlington, Iowa to Vida, Montana. Upon arrival she learns that in order to “prove up” her claim she has to cultivate forty acres and set 480 rods of fence within a year. Hattie realizes it’s a huge undertaking, her tenacity takes over and she sets out to do whatever it takes. Set against the backdrop of war and unrest, Larsen weaves Hattie’s and the other Montana families’ story beautifully. I fell in love with the characters and hope that students will too.


  1. Dear Mrs. Schauer,

    Thank you for the kind compliments about Hattie Big Sky. I must confess that I haven't listened to the audio yet, myself -- when I tried, all I could hear were things I wish I had rewritten! -- but I know the producer worked very hard to get it just right.

    How lucky your students are to have you for a librarian. Thanks for all you are doing to connect kids with books.

    Kirby Larson

  2. Oh wow! How cool that you commented on my blog! I imagine it must be very hard to listen to someone else read your book aloud!

    Thanks for your compliment as well!

  3. Typically when I read a book recommended by the Pettus High School Librarian-of-the-year, Mrs. Teresa Schauer, I am quick to comment regarding my thoughts about what I've read. This book, however, is an exception. I have been pondering for days about what I should report.
    My first response to the book (upon completing it) was "I hated it!" Mrs. Schauer can attest to that, along with several students who were in the library at the time I returned Hattie Big Sky. But, as I told Mrs. Schauer, that negative comment applies only to the ending. Hated it!! (will explain more as I go! hehe!)
    My husband will tell you that as I neared the last pages of the book, I simply did not want the story to end. After reading in my bedroom for awhile, I took the book outside with me where my husband was BBQ'ing. "I LOVE this book -- I don't want to finish it," I said as I fanned the few pages I had yet to read. My husband is literate, but he's not a reader. Poor soul. Poor man who doesn't understand the impact that young Hattie Brooks had on my mind-set and general attitude toward work -- real work. Work in the physical sense of the word, of course, but most importantly to me, work in the mental and emotional and spiritual senses of the word. I wish that I were as strong at 40 now as Hattie was at 16 in the book.
    From the author's note in the back of the book, I know that Hattie Brooks is/was a "real" person. I must tell the author one day, given the chance, that her great-grandmother has seriously and honestly become my role model! I will think of Hattie whenever I want to say, "I can't do that," and I will correct my thinking!!
    Okay -- back to "I hated it!" -- words said only because the child worked so hard, stood up for those who needed "standin' up for," and gave her heart, lost her heart (Mattie/Perilee/Karl, etc.), then discovered again that her heart was still in tact and still willing to give more in the future. She deserved to reap the fruits of her labor, not just mentally but also physically.