A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that When the Sea Turned to Silver is a fantasy about a young girl's quest to find her grandmother after they're violently separated. Written by Newbery honoree Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon), it incorporates many elements of Chinese folklore and has many stories within the story that are based on folklore but are the author's creations. There's some scariness from both fantasy creatures and other characters, with the heroes frequently in mild to moderate peril. Blood is mentioned a few times, and a drop of blood is an important plot element. The big-kid characters Pinmei and Yishan are great role models, and positive messages about the value of storytelling, perseverance, and kindness to others abound.
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What's the story?
WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER tells the story of how Pinmei and her friend Yishan go on a journey to find and rescue Pinmei's grandmother. The emperor's soldiers come to Pinmei and Amah's remote mountain hut, take Amah away, and burn the hut to the ground. Pinmei and Yishan, her friend from higher up on the mountain, set out to find and rescue Amah from the emperor's clutches. Along the way they encounter the beautiful Lady Meng, the Sea King, a pair of greedy monkeys, and many others; and Pinmei learns not only that she's inherited her grandmother's gift for storytelling and why storytelling is so important, but she also learns she's capable of much more than she thought.
Is it any good?
Author Grace Lin has created another gorgeously written, beautifully illustrated folklore-fantasy tale that readers of a wide range of ages will savor over and over. When the Sea Turns to Silver's illustrations and clever book design enhance the experience by providing engaging detail and hidden hints that will delight and intrigue.
The folktales themselves (created by Lin) augment and foreshadow Pinmei's fantastic, magical journey. They're stunningly imagined and so thoroughly steeped in real folklore elements that they seem as old as the Black Tortoise of Winter himself.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about storytelling in When the Sea Turned to Silver. Why do Amah and Pinmei tell stories? What do you and the characters in the book like about the stories?
If someone or something magical could make you immortal, would you want to be? Why, or why not?
Which story in the book is your favorite? What do you like best about it?
- Author: Grace Lin
- Illustrator: Grace Lin
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Fairy Tales, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date: October 4, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 3, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love fairy tales and Asian stories
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