A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Information about the salt marsh ecosystem is highlighted, as are insights about art and the creative process.
Be true to yourself. Be willing to grow. Exploration is good for the spirit. Stay in touch with the natural world. Trust your instincts. Reach out to others when you are in pain. Love your family. Change is natural -- learn how to embrace it.
Positive Role Models
The main character, Bex, has a good relationship with the adults in her life. She does sneak away and lies to her family, but they are gentle and understanding.
The majority of the characters are White. Bex has a friend who is Mexican American and Taiwanese.
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Violence & Scariness
Mild peril, nothing scary. Themes of death and loss.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that When Sea Becomes Sky, by Gillian McDunn (Honestly Elliot), is a fictional story about siblings who spend their summers exploring the salt marshes of South Carolina. The relationship that the siblings share is loving and mutual. Expect themes of loss and grieving. Character strengths include compassion and empathy.
Is It Any Good?
Cozy, compassionate, courageous, this story about siblings and their search for connection with the past is heartwarming. Though this book doesn't feel as fleshed out as previous books by Gillian McDunn, the surprises in this story feel very personal. And Yaoyao Ma Van's illustrations add to the story and atmosphere.
Kids who are fans of McDunn's Carolina coast novel Caterpillar Summer will enjoy the familiar setting. And though there's a twist at the end of this book that feels satisfying, the characters are not quite as developed as in other works by this veteran author. Still, there are great messages about the importance of family.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.