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Beyond the Bright Sea
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Beyond the Bright Sea is the second children's book by the author of Wolf Hollow. It's not as dark or emotionally intense, but there are themes of loss in the story of a stillborn child in the past and a 12-year-old adopted child's search for her birth parents. There's a scary bad guy and suspense, and blood's mentioned a few times but not described in detail. The book explores themes of family (especially adoption), identity, and belonging. Great messages about how the family you make isn't less real or important than family you're born into, and the main characters all are positive role models for love, loyalty, and unwavering support of one another.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Twelve-year-old Crow may have to look BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA when a bonfire on a nearby island sparks her curiosity about who her parents were and where they came from. Crow was taken in by Osh, the only person living on a tiny island off the coast of Massachusetts, when she was only a few hours old. She and Osh work hard for the things they need, but they don't need much and have always been content together. But as she grows older and learns more about the world around her, Crow really wants to know more about herself, too. Her search takes her to an orphanage in the city, to a tiny graveyard on a nearby island, and across the path of a madman who'll stop at nothing to find a pirate's treasure.
Is it any good?
Author Lauren Wolk weaves a beautiful tapestry of pirate-treasure adventure, suspense, a search for family, and warm family bonds that'll keep the pages turning and the heartstrings tugging. Beyond the Bright Sea is not as dark and intense as Wolk's YA debut, Wolf Hollow, but the mystery, characters, and vivid sense of place make it hard to put down.
Tweens will relate to Crow as she explores how her family origins define, and don't define, who she is. The rhythmic writing and suspenseful chapter endings make it great for reading aloud, too. Everyone from big kids up to adults will be deeply moved by Crow's adventures and the lessons she learns about family and happiness. Keep a tissue nearby when you get to the end.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Beyond the Bright Sea shows what a family is. Do Osh and Miss Maggie do the kinds of things parents do for a child? What do your family and loved ones do for you?
What makes Crow a good role model? What do you like about her? How could you be more like her?
If you found a buried treasure, what would you do with it? Share it, spend it, hide it, give it away?
- Author: Lauren Wolk
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Great Girl Role Models, History, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
- Publication date: May 2, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.