Stand on the Sky (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

In Mongolia, 12-year old Aisulu chafes at the expectations of her Kazakh community, which confines her to girls’ work, despite her skill in math, science, and horseback riding: “In a land where girls are supposed to have hearts made of milk, Aisulu had a heart made of sky.” When Aisulu, worried, betrays her older brother Serik’s confidence about his persistent limp, a weakness in their nomadic community, he is sent for medical treatment outside their aul. Her brother and parents away, Aisulu’s guilt and sense of abandonment churns, spurring her rescue of an orphaned eaglet. It soon becomes clear that the eagle, Toktar, has chosen Aisulu: she is ‘burkitshi;’ an eagle hunter. Defying convention (women are not burkitshi in her small village), Aisulu and her eagle prepare to compete in the Eagle Festival, the monetary prize crucial to funding Serik’s necessary treatment. Aisulu’s shifting role within her community, her burgeoning relationship with Toktar, and her maturing sense of self are triumphant as she faces very real obstacles, both physical and mental. As she grows into being burkitshi, Aisulu also develops a deep and striking relationship with her uncle’s wife, a strange foreigner called the Fox Wife, who encourages Aisulu to be her true self. Bow gifts readers with a superlative celebration of sisterhood, femininity, and family

— From Sara


An exquisitely written, uplifting middle grade debut by acclaimed author, Erin Bow, about a young girl who defies her family’s expectations in order to save her brother and become an eagle hunter, perfect for fans of PAX.

It goes against all tradition for Aisulu to train an eagle, for among the Kazakh nomads, only men can fly them. But everything changes when Aisulu discovers that her brother, Serik, has been concealing a bad limp that risks not just his future as the family's leader, but his life too.

When her parents leave to seek a cure for Serik in a distant hospital, Aisulu finds herself living with her intimidating uncle and strange auntie—and secretly caring for an orphaned baby eagle. To save her brother and keep her family from having to leave their nomadic life behind forever, Aisulu must earn her eagle’s trust and fight for her right to soar.  Along the way, she discovers that family are people who choose each other, home is a place you build, and hope is a thing with feathers.

Erin Bow’s lyrical middle grade debut is perfect for fans of original animal-friendship stories like Pax and Because of Winn Dixie.

About the Author

Erin Bow was trained as a physicist, though she now spends her days writing poetry and fiction in a tiny (though heated) garden shed in Ontario, Canada.  Her books – which include fairy tale Plain Kate, the thoughtful horror Sorrow's Knot and science fiction duology The Scorpion Rules and The Swan Riders – have won a fistful of awards. @erinbowbooks. 

Praise For…

“[A] story of strength, courage, and resilience that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt abandoned, alone, or doubted themselves and their place in the world…. Bow delivers a jubilant tale that celebrates the power of family, love, and young women.” Quill and Quire

"Bow uses wistful narrative flourishes to paint this meticulously detailed portrait of a nomadic family and their profound relationship with the wildlife and unforgiving land....[Y]oung readers will find [the ending] heartwarmingly earned and inspiring." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"[T]his book is lyrical and lovely and features complex and vivid characters."Booklist

"Readers will root for Aisulu and her community, an ancient culture negotiating the contemporary world." Kirkus

"[A]n interesting and unique setting." School Library Journal

"Bow (Sorrow’s Knot) creates a vivid sense of place." Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9781328557469
ISBN-10: 1328557464
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 5th, 2019
Pages: 336

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