The Long Silk Strand: A Grandmother's Legacy to Her Granddaughter

Book review by
Whitney Stewart, Common Sense Media
The Long Silk Strand: A Grandmother's Legacy to Her Granddaughter Book Poster Image
Lovely tale addresses questions about death.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

Death is a theme here.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book may prompt questions or a discussion about death.

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What's the story?

A Chinese girl, longing to connect to her deceased grandmother, climbs a thread to the afterlife to learn what is or isn't there. Children everywhere wonder what happens to dead relatives, and this picture book succeeds as a book about death, as a story of trust and bravery, and as a stunning work of paper art.


Is it any good?

This poignant cultural tale answers universal questions about death and the importance of life. Yasuyo climbs into the clouds, where she finds her grandmother. Standing above and looking down on her family, Yasuyo realizes the importance of her life with them, and her grandmother reaffirms the power of living. She doesn't tell her granddaughter what to do, but she does help her make her decision to return to the world of the living. The symbol of the threads tied together to reflect Grandma's life is beautiful and adds concreteness to the abstract concepts.

Illustrator Grayce Bochak is brilliant at choosing unusual angles for her scenes. In her cut-paper pictures, she makes ordinary life look heaven-like, and the cool pinks and greens of the color scheme create just the right tone to match Williams' pacing and otherworldly scenarios.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Yasuyo's relationship with her grandmother. Why does Yasuyo travel to see her? Why does she decide to return to the world of the living and leave her grandmother?

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