Lion of the Sky (Hardcover)

Lion of the Sky By Ritu Hemnani Cover Image
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An evocative historical novel in verse about a boy and his family who are forced to flee their home and become refugees after the British Partition of India. Perfect for fans of Other Words for Home

Twelve-year-old Raj is happiest flying kites with his best friend, Iqbal. As their kites soar, Raj feels free, like his beloved India soon will be, and he can’t wait to celebrate their independence.

But when a British lawyer draws a line across a map, splitting India in two, Raj is thrust into a fractured world. With Partition declared, Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim families are torn apart—and Raj’s Hindu and Iqbal’s Muslim families are among them.

Forced to flee and become refugees, Raj’s family is left to start over in a new country. After suffering devastating losses, Raj must summon the courage to survive the brutal upheaval of both his country and his heart.

Inspired by the author’s true family history, Lion of the Sky is a deeply moving coming-of-age tale about identity, belonging, and the power of hope.

About the Author

Ritu Hemnani is a journalist, teacher, voice actor, and motivational speaker. She recognizes herself as ethnically Indian and a British national and calls Hong Kong her home, where she lives with her husband and three children. Lion of the Sky is Ritu’s debut middle grade novel. You can find her online at

Praise For…

"This is a tale about being lion-hearted, soaring after falling many times, and still reaching for the sky. It’s also about lines that divide, that cut across hearts and countries, and that are seared into memories. An exquisite, memorable story about new beginnings and the quest to belong."  — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Compelling stakes ratchet up the tension in this illuminating and harrowing story about displacement, grief, and hope."  — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A culturally rich reading experience that is heartbreaking and inspiring, this will have readers crying at the loss of Raj’s innocence and cheering for him as he takes on bullies and fights social norms to support his family."  — School Library Journal

"This verse novel weaves historical information and Sindhi language into a powerful story about friendship and bravery, and Raj’s epic journey ends on a believably hopeful note without downplaying the unimaginable things he and his country face." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Detail-oriented and emotional. A lofty companion to Veera Hiranandani’s The Night Diary”? — ALA Booklist

“An eye-opening tale of friendship, displacement, horror, and hope. Set during the Partition of India, Ritu Hemnani’s stirring story touches upon the worst that people can be, but also how they can reveal the best of themselves during the most difficult times.” — Rajani LaRocca, Newbery Honor-Winning Author of Red, White, and Whole

“With gorgeous writing and beautiful characters, Lion of the Sky left my heart both aching and full of hope. Ritu Hemnani’s deeply personal story about the Partition of Pakistan and India does not shy away from the painful parts of history. But perhaps more important, it charts a map for young people—like Raj and Iqbal in the book—to choose kindness and understanding over hatred and division. A timely and powerful debut.” — Maulik Pancholy, Award-Winning Author of The Best at It and Nikhil Out Loud

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063284487
ISBN-10: 0063284480
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 416
Language: English