Monday, May 27, 2019

STAND ON THE SKY by Erin Bow – A bird, a girl, an adventure

Thanks so much to #KickButtKidLit for the chance to win this book! I really loved the writing and the story.  Didn’t want to put it down.

Description from the publisher:

She had always heard that the eagle chooses the eagle hunter. She wanted that. She wanted her eagle to come to her. To choose her.

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.

Stand on the Sky by Erin Bow was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2019.

Why you want to read this book:

It’s a compelling story about the growing bond between a fiercely determined girl and an equally fierce eagle. It’s also a story about a family holding together in a time of crisis. I loved learning about eagles, about the Kazakh nomads, about a different way of life. Aisulu’s determination to help train the eagle and to help her brother made me root for her to succeed.


There was no sign of Serik’s horse.

If you’re a writer…

You’ll want to read this to study how specific details can make setting and characters feel alive. The writing in this story is so lovely! Erin Bow gives us images and experiences for all of the senses. I was  impressed to learn about all the research that went into creating this book. She spent a summer living with a Kazakh eagle hunter and his family to make sure she got all the details right. This shows how important it is to do your research!

If you’re an educator…

This book will be a wonderful addition to your collection of stories with strong female characters. Set in a country I haven't read about before, this story shows how a family gets through their troubles. And how you can find friendship anywhere--even with a fierce and beautiful bird. I really loved Aisulu's determination and willingness to take risks. 

In a land where girls are supposed to have hearts made of milk, Aisulu had a heart made of sky.

Check out another review of this book from Quill & Quire.

If you’re looking for another great list of middle grade books to read, check out Marvelous Middle Grade Monday on Greg Pattridge's blog.


  1. Interesting story! I'm reading one right now about a girl and her falcon and will have to get a copy of this one for comparison. Thanks for telling us about it today on this Memorial Day edition of MMGM.

  2. Gosh, this sounds great. I will have to pick up a copy. There is a real need for books with strong female characters that have great adventures. Thanks for the review.

  3. This story sounds amazing! One of my own personal childhood favorites is 'My Side of the Mountain', so it will be fun to read this one. Thanks for sharing this title for MMGM.

  4. this looks cool! I remember the news article about the young woman who hunts with an eagle.


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