My book was read to our 5th grade class on 1989-1990 It is set in prehistoric times in either North America or Europe. The protagonist is a girl. She is somehow separated from her hunter-gatherer tribe and survives on her own, basically developing the historical advances that made it possible for humans to settle in one place, such as planting crops. I think she befriends a boy partway into the story but she’s mostly on her own. At the end her tribe is passing through and they meet. The tribe is starving and she invites them to join her, with the last line in the book somewhere along the lines of “Come in. We have fire, and food in plenty.”
There is no romance, no science fiction, no fantasy element. It seemed to be geared towards children and possibly published for use in a classroom setting to teach prehistory, but it was fictional. A novel or novelette. I have asked my elementary school library, my elementary school principal, my city library, Google, reddit, Facebook, a list of over 300 prehistoric fiction books on Goodreads, Name That Book, and Amazon. I also tried the Scholastic archive, but the one I found doesn’t go back far enough.
I’m really desperate by this point and want to find this book to read to my own kids.