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When the Sea Turned to Silver Hardcover – October 4, 2016

4.8 out of 5 stars 609 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3–6—The Tiger Emperor is conscripting all the men of the mountain villages to build the Vast Wall surrounding the kingdom. But when they reach Pinmei's village, they also take her grandmother, the Storyteller. In order to save her, Pinmei and her friend Yishan embark on a voyage to find the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night—the only thing the Emperor will trade for a prisoner's freedom. From the top of Never-Ending Mountain to the City of Bright Moonlight to the bottom of the sea and back, their journey brings readers to familiar characters and settings as well as new ones. Combining the epic quest of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and the tight, cyclical plotting of Starry River of the Sky, this is the strongest addition yet, binding the previous volumes together even more closely. As in the earlier companion novels, stories inspired by Chinese folktales are frequently interspersed, giving astute readers critical background information and clues and letting them see the future of their favorite characters, as many stories gain additional chapters. The framing narrative is bleaker and darker, and greater emphasis is placed on the importance and role of stories and storytellers. Lin's vibrant chapter decorations and full-color, full-page paintings add to the work's beauty. VERDICT A stunning addition to a deservedly beloved set of novels; recommended for all middle grade collections.—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA

Review

Praise for When the Sea Turned to Silver:

A New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2016
A National Book Award Finalist
An IndieBound Bestseller
NPR Best Book of the Year Pick
The Horn Book Fanfare Best Books of 2016
ALA Notable Book for Children
An Amazon Best Books of 2016 Pick
A CCBC Children's Choices Pick
A School Library Journal Best of 2016: Middle Grace Choice
A Booklist Editor's Choice 2016
B&N Kids Blog 10 Notable Middle Grade Novels of 2016
Bank Street College of Education 2017 Best Children's Book of the Year

"Grace Lin has written a middle-grade trilogy of surpassing wonder and emotional weight... Remarkable... A must-read... Full of charm and driving action... Lin has made herself immortal in this trilogy, no doubt."―The New York Times Book Review

*"On its own, this third volume contains a richly complex adventure story that revisits previous themes....The three books together, however, offer one grand epic that spans generations....Lin's stonecutter claims that storytellers 'can make time disappear...bring us to places we have never dreamed of...feel sorrow and joy and peace'; the description is a fitting one for author-illustrator Lin herself, who has proven herself a master."―The Horn Book, starred review

*"The meticulous craft delivers what Lin's fans have come to expect... This beautifully told companion to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2009) and Starry River of the Sky (2012) offers lyrical storytelling, bringing 'us to places we have never dreamed of.'"―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

*"Lin's vibrant chapter decorations and full-color, full-page paintings add to the work's beauty....A stunning addition to a deservedly beloved set of novels; recommended for all middle grade collections."―School Library Journal (starred review)

*"Compelling....Lin's fans will not be disappointed: she again delivers a rich interweaving of ancient tales with fast-paced adventure, fantasy, and slowly unfolding mysteries told through captivating language."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

*"Lin's evocative language sweeps readers away, and the stories within the story are juicy and delicious....[A] worthy companion to her Newbery Honor book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2009) and Starry River of the Sky (2012)."―Booklist (starred review)

"Pinmei's journey has a compelling urgency that quickens the pace and enlivens the adventure, while the short stories are smoothly integrated and provide sly, subtle connections to plot events, making satisfying the climactic scene in which the elements converge....Lin's characteristic elegant prose...keeps its enchanting, luminous quality."―BCCB

"In this captivating tale... readers will not only enjoy the 'frame' story revolving around Pinmei and Yishan, but will also like (and recognize) some of the other stories being told."―School Library Connection

* "The lively mixture of adventure, mystery, and fantasy, supported by compelling character development and spellbinding language, will captivate a wide swath of readers."―Publishers Weekly, starred review