Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
Kirby says as much in her author's note at book's end, that readers will find obvious parallels between WWI states' side and today's war on terror, since much of the research for the book and much of the writing happened smack-dab in the middle of today's events, including The Aftermath (September 11, 2001, as if there can be any other event in our lifetime that merits such reverence). The date itself, September 11, comes up in the story. Maybe a bit heavy on the sybolism, but how cool it is to be able to call this a post-9-11 book. Inspite of this maybe too obvious connection, boy oh boy, the story is one great story. Funny at times, inspiring more often, Larson has a knack for introducing a character and allowing her to take charge of the outcome. From chucking rocks at a cow-tail-eating wolf, to flailing arms full of petticoats and skirts to scare off wild horses, to standing up for a fellow citizen, to tearing into the earth and waiting and waiting on rain, then witnessing one's harvest torn to bits by hail, to witnessing the oh so unfortunate passing of an innocent, "our little magpie." (Kirby, what wonderful magic you have to make my eyes tear up and my heart to grow heavy for this family, for our hero, for this generation.) All in all, a wonder of a book! I will take my yellow highlighter and color in the silver sticker on my copy of your book.