Governor General’s Literary Awards

Stand on the Sky by Erin Bow

Stand on the Sky

By Erin Bow

Scholastic Canada; distributed by the publisher


It goes against all tradition for Aisulu to train an eagle, for among Kazakh nomads, only men can fly eagles. But everything changes when Aisulu discovers that her brother, Serik, has a bad limp. His illness could risk not only his future as the leader of the family, but also his life as well. When her parents leave to seek a cure for Serik, Aisulu moves in with her aunt and uncle, trying to conceal an eaglet she rescued. When Aisulu is discovered, her uncle decides to undertake the arduous task of training Aisulu to be an eagle hunter so that she can compete in the yearly contest. If she wins, the prize money will pay for Serik’s cure and save her family from having to abandon their nomadic lifestyle.

“In writing that is both evocative and perfectly pitched for young readers, Stand on the Sky tells the heartfelt and gripping tale of a Kazakh girl who, despite cultural barriers, struggles to train a wild eagle. With its authentic voice, the novel transports the reader to the steppes of Mongolia and opens up a fascinating world where age-old tradition is overturned by one young girl’s bravery and determination.”

Peer assessment committee: Kagiso Lesego Molope, Kenneth Oppel, Ellen Schwartz

Erin Bow
Erin Bow
Photo: Studio J

Biography: Erin Bow

Erin Bow is a former physicist turned poet and writer of stories for young people. Her first novel, Plain Kate, won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Her second, Sorrow’s Knot, won the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and her third, The Scorpion Rules, won her a second Monica Hughes Award and was the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for young adults. Erin publishes equally lauded poetry under her maiden name, Erin Noteboom. She lives in Kitchener, Ontario, with author James Bow and their two tween-aged daughters. 

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