Behind the Story: Flying Up the Mountain by Elizabeth-Irene Baitie

Author, Elizabeth-Irene Baitie, takes us through the inspiration behind the forthcoming sequel of Crossing the Stream, FLYING UP THE MOUNTAIN coming out August 2024!

Flying up the Mountain is a natural sequel to Crossing the Stream. There’s no way either story would have been told if I didn’t have the grandmother that I had. As a child, I saw her as a fire-breathing dragon, formidable in every way.  However, as I grew up, I felt her love for me and found strength through listening to, and observing her. I wanted my 12-year old protagonist, Ato to similarly experience this stimulating effect of strength and love.

At its very heart, Flying up the Mountain is about several things: It’s about how strong we can become when we have people within our circles who believe in us. It’s about the strength that lies in diversity, and young people realising that our differences complete us, and that we’re better together. It’s about young heroes and heroines who have a bond with the earth and are willing to do hard things to protect her. And it’s about dreams coming true.

In my home country of Ghana, the ravaging effects of human activities on Mother Earth are all too evident; from plastic pollution, to the destruction of precious rivers and water bodies as a result of small-scale mining. On a daily basis, forests, rural and farming communities are subjected to devastating exploitation.  In writing this story, I salute the young people of this generation who are acutely conscious of how critical it is to conserve and preserve our earth.  These young people are champions in big ways and small, from using refillable flasks, to advocating for the protection of vanishing animal and plant species, and courageously speaking truth to power.  Their efforts make a difference.

I also acknowledge the parents, relatives, teachers whose words water the seeds of greatness within young people, building hope in their hearts, and making the difference between them giving up or pressing on. Ato is a regular 12-year-old with a dream in his heart, two good friends by his side and a strong grandma at his back. With this combination, the sky is the limit, and I invite readers to pick up a copy of the book, and go Flying up the Mountain with him!

About Flying Up The Mountain

Ato and his friends Dzifa and Leslie have been selected to visit Nnoma, the bird sanctuary that Ato’s father helped build before he died. Ato is convinced that his father hid something valuable on the island, meant only for him. When the trio arrives at Nnoma with other children from across West Africa, they are split into teams and given missions to help broaden their knowledge of nature. The winners will become Asafo—ambassadors of Nnoma and defenders of the Earth. But then the adults running Nnoma start behaving erratically and Ato suspects foul play. When the trio uncovers a sinister plot to exploit the sanctuary, Ato and his friends must work together to protect it—and his father’s legacy. 

Flying Up the Mountain is out August 2024. Pre-order here.