Books·Canadian

Stand on the Sky

A novel by Erin Bow.

Erin Bow

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. (From Scholastic)

Stand on the Sky won the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature, text.

From the book

There was no sign of Serik's horse.

Aisulu and her brother, Serik, had been searching for almost two hours. They'd followed footpaths and goat paths, tracked through sand and skulls and sharp-cornered stone. "Well," said Serik. "That's it. Dulat's going to kill me. I'm going to die."

Aisulu slung an arm around her brother's shoulders. "You think that's bad? I'm going to have to do embroidery."

They were standing together on top of a shale outcropping, which they'd climbed to use for a lookout. Above them the sky was high and huge and bright, wheeled with birds. Below them the mountain swept away, fierce and dry and the colour of foxes. They could see up to the snow line and down to the power lines and the road. They could see the tracks of the goat herds and the hollow with the three tent-houses — the gers — where their herding family lived. What they could not see was any trace of stupid horses that had wandered off while their riders lay napping in the sun.


From Stand on the Sky by Erin Bow ©2019. Published by Scholastic.

Why Erin Bow wrote Stand on the Sky

"I was close with my late sister. She is the painter Wendy Yule. She died 14 years ago. When we were both adolescents, we had the usual adolescent turmoil, but she was certainly in more tumultuous circumstances than I was. I always wanted to reach out and save her and I felt quite helpless to do so. Eventually she did die. 

I wanted a book that was hopeful and healing and triumphant.- Erin Bow

"I wanted a book where one sibling saves the other. You read all these books when you're young where there is one healthy kid and one kid who's sick and it's usually about the kid who's sick and they usually die. I wanted a book that just refutes that. I wanted a book that was hopeful and healing and triumphant. I wanted a happy book."

Read more in her interview with CBC.

Interviews with Erin Bow

Kitchener-Waterloo author Erin Bow talks about winning what she describes as THE Canadian book award for her middle grade novel Stand on the Sky. 7:50

Other books by Erin Bow

 

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