Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Stand on the Sky

40796125Bow, Erin. Stand on the Sky
March 5th 2019 by HMH Books for Young Readers
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Aisulu and her brother Serik are out looking for his horse when a summer snowstorm hits the mountain where their Kazakh nomadic family lives. They manage to make it home, but see an injured eagle on their way. Their uncle, who has raised eagles and used them for hunting, can't save the mother, but Aisulu hunts for the nest and manages to save the eaglet. In her culture, it is the men and boys who raise eagles, but Aisulu is bound and determined to enter a competition with Toktar, especially after Serik does not return from the hospital after their snow storm ordeal. Serik's leg had been bothering him, and he begged Aisulu not to tell, but when he has his injury treated, they find out he has an osteosarcoma, and his leg must be amputated. Entering the competition could mean money to help her brother, so Aisulu raises and trains the eagle, finding unlikely allies her uncle Dulat, his wife, and a retired eagle trainer. She is afraid that even if she wins, she will lose Toktar when her family is forced to live in the city, but things have a way of working out, and Aisulu is able to remain true to her hopes and dreams.
Strengths: The details of what it is like to live in a ger are very complete. Food, clothing, shelter, daily life, work, school-- these things are all very different from life in the US, and there's just the right amount of detail. There is also a lot of girl power, with Aisulu wanting to buck tradition and getting support from most of those around her. My favorite was the grandmother of one young man who gave Aisulu a hard time because she was a girl-- the grandmother makes the young man give Aisulu a pair of boots he has outgrown! The aunt, who is from another tribe, has a different outlook on life, and teachers Aisulu some valuable skills. Their relation ship is my favorite.
Weaknesses: This is not an #ownvoices book, but the research is very thorough, so until a woman raised in a nomadic Kazakh family writes a middle grade book about her experiences and it's available in English, I am VERY happy to have this book!
What I really think: There are so many good things about this book, and since I've been able to get students interested in Butterworth's Running on the Roof of the World, I have high hopes for this one!

1 comment:

  1. Oooh, a setting and culture I know practically nothing about! Plus eagles! I suspect I will like this one.