Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson is a coming-of-age story set in Montana during World War I. Hattie is an orphan, shuffled from one unwilling relative to another for most of her life.
Then a letter arrives in the mail. Hattie’s uncle has died, leaving her his homestead claim in Montana. Although she is only 16, Hattie summons the courage to leave Iowa and embark on a new life as a homesteader.
Once in Montana, Hattie faces the challenges of every homesteader – feeding herself and her stock, fencing her land, and planting crops. She receives much encouragement from her neighbors, Perilee Mueller and her German husband and children.
She also must stand strong against another neighbor, Traft Martin, and his schemes to buy her out.
Hattie learns to be a part of a family, learns to stand her ground, and learns the real meaning of home. Interspersed in the narrative are letters she writes to her friend Charlie, who’s fighting in France, and articles she writes for a newspaper back in Iowa.
The publisher recommends this delightful book for ages 12 and up, but my whole family enjoyed listening to this on audiobook when my youngest was six.