As the cold weather arrives and folks are urged to stay home, kids are longing for an adventure. The Eagle Huntress may be the journey they are looking for. This true story is told from the point of view from Aisholpan, a 12-year-old girl who dreams of hunting with an eagle, typically a tradition that is carried on by boys in the family.
Popularized by a documentary of the same name, The Eagle Huntress was written by Aisholpan Nurgaiv herself with the help of best-selling writer Liz Welch. Aisholpan lives a partly nomadic life in Mongolia with her family—her life isn’t filled with text messages or online homework; instead she lives with eagles and rides horses as a means of transportation. Aisholpan takes great care in describing everyday life and how she connects deeply with her Kazakh culture. It will be interesting for kids to compare and contrast their “normal” lives with that of Aisholpan.
While the end of her journey is no secret (the title pretty much gives it away), the heart of the book is traveling along the path with the young huntress. Throughout the book, Aisholpan follows her heart and her natural talents, convinces both of her parents to capture and train an eaglet, and learns to have confidence in herself. This story also reminds us that we may need to modernize some of our traditions in order to see them carried on.
The Eagle Huntress has something for everyone: compassion for the sensitive; courage for the brave; overcoming bullies and gender roles; a father taking a chance on a young daughter; travel for those with wanderlust; a brush with celebrity; and many animals for kids with an affinity for wildlife. While you can rent the 2016 movie with the same name on Amazon Video or YouTube, the book provides an excellent, immersive, and screen-free experience for kids ages 8-12.