I am so excited to have a great historical fiction author and her books on my blog today and tomorrow. I am even more excited about the book giveaway contest. Clara Gillow Clark has donated a copy of all three Hattie books to give away as prizes to lucky winners who comment on today’s post or tomorrow’s post. You can leave a comment about the book or a question for Clara. You can also discuss historical fiction for middle grade or YA and/or recommend any good historical fiction books you’ve read. To get an extra entry or two, subscribe to my RSS feed, and leave a comment that you did. You can also follow me on Twitter or follow Clara on Twitter (or both of us!); and each time, leave a separate comment that you did! Thanks! (If you already follow us, tell us that in a separate comment, too!) So, here’s Hill Hawk Hattie:
*Historical fiction for middle grade (1850s, American east coast: Delaware River: Pennsylvannia, New York, New Jersey)
*11-year-old girl as main character
*Rating: Hill Hawk Hattie is an historical fiction adventure with lovable characters who pull at your heartstrings while making you smile and sometimes even want to cry.
Short, short summary: Hattie and her pa are a mess after Ma dies. Pa drinks too much, hardly talks or smiles, and orders Hattie around with curse words. After having to quit school, Hattie has to do all the work around the house, and she’s not so great at it. She’s turning mean inside and ornery, too. How long can Pa and Hattie go on like this? Then one day, Pa, a “Hill Hawk” (a logger who lives a lonely life in the hills), comes home and tells Hattie that she’s going to work with him the next day to cut trees. When she gets there, Pa introduces her as his boy, Harley, and Hattie wonders what that’s all about. Hattie/Harley soon forms a friendship with Pa’s partner’s boy, Jasper, while they work together at being loggers, including an adventure of taking the logs down the Delaware River. Pa and Hattie both learn about living life after Ma while Clara Gillow Clark sprinkles the text with just the right amount of vivid and historical details. You’ll fall in love with Hattie and want to read more! (Good thing, it’s a series!)
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Since Hill Hawk Hattie is written about the 1850s and the east coast, this is a book you can read with a social studies/history unit that is pre-Civil War. There aren’t many books around that aren’t about slavery during this time, so this is a refreshing look at this period in history. When reading historical fiction, students can keep a separate section in their reading response journals for recording historical facts or details about the time period. For example, while reading Hill Hawk Hattie, students or your children will learn some activities people did at night in the 1850s. Hattie offers to read to her father the Bible or the almanac. There was no TV or radio, and Hattie and her pa don’t talk much, so what else can they do? Readers can also see a lot of details of what it was like to cook a meal as Hattie struggles to take over Ma’s role.
2. Hill Hawk Hattie has a wonderful map of the Delaware River, snaking its way through the east coast. Students can follow Hattie’s logging adventure on the map. They can also compare a modern day map with the map in the book. You can also make a large copy of this map, and students can practice some of their map skills, especially directions, with questions such as: “What branch of the Delaware River is south of Narrowsburg?” (Ten Mile River)
3. Not only is this a great historical fiction novel, but this book also contains wonderful characters–Pa, Jasper, and Hattie–that students can write about, discuss, and grow to love. Any of your reading skills concerning characters (whether you home school or teach) can be taught with this book. It would be easy to teach characters’ feelings or emotions, studying either Hattie or Pa throughout the entire story. You can also look at characters’ conflict and how and why they change in the novel.
Don’t forget to leave a comment, question, or an historical fiction book suggestion for a chance to win one of the Hill Hawk Hattie books. I will pick on Thursday, January 21 at 8:00 pm CST. The first winner will get first choice and so on. We love your comments and appreciate your support of one of my favorite genres–middle grade historical fiction!