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When the Sea Turned to Silver Hardcover – October 4, 2016 by Grace Lin (Author)

I’m a huge fan of Grace Lin and have read all the books in this series. Although, I’m not sure if it’s technically a series or not? The books can be read as stand alone novels, however there are interweaving characters and story lines that make more sense if you read them in order. So start with the first one, Where the Mountain Meets the MoonSo where do I begin? These books are brimming with eastern folklore and magic. I drunk everything up; I was thirsty for tales like this and I didn’t even know it until I found it. A little background about me: I’m Asian and came to the United States when I was little. I’ve always felt like I was in limbo, not quite American but not quite Asian either. Asian stories, when translated, are always a little clunky in my opinion. And I’ve never been able to read my native language so original texts were out of my reach. This, an Asian story told in such beautiful, lyrical English, was so refreshing to me. I want more! More!Of the three books, this one is probably for older kids just because the narration style and plot lines are more complex. There’s a lot going on and the timeline isn’t linear so it can be confusing. But the characters are lovable and the story is compelling. Plus, it wraps things up very nice and neat in the end. Can’t recommend this series and this particular book enough! Check it out!

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

When the Sea Turned to Silver Hardcover – October 4, 2016 by Grace Lin (Author) Review

My 9-year-old granddaughters and I listened to this lovely book in the car. It is a great story with great messages about courage, love, and tenacity in the face of arbitrary power. The "stories" woven into the narrative are stand-alone terrific — the author has made great use of her research into Chinese myths and legends — and the voice of the reader on the CD is perfect. The conditions under which we listened were not ideal: just a couple of times a week on the way to gymnastics. Despite the protracted nature of our listening experience, we all stayed riveted on the book. Indeed, when we finished it last week, the girls asked that we start back at the beginning right away. And it’s sufficiently engaging and complex that a second hearing is really wonderful. -Read Reviews-

I am frequently telling my kids "people more than things" when something gets wrecked, or lost or feelings get hurt. Man, they love their stuff. .. and boy does it turn the world over when something is disrupted. However, I get my mothering self into trouble with books. I love them. I love them like they are my friends and I treasure them not above people, but above most "things. " So, am I weird. .. yeah, probably. Do I feel this way about most books? No. not many actually. But people. .. LISTEN. .. Grace Lin can write. She’s amazing and very unique. I am torn on reading this to my girls, or buying that book protecting plastic stuff and enshrining it on my high shelf of favorites. Why am I going into all of this when I am supposed to be reviewing this book? Because this particular novel is all about stories. In what feels like a unique Chinese Proverbs meets Asop’s Fables kind of concoction, this book delivers numerous short stories told by a shy little story teller who is just finding her voice on her way to save her grandma: Amah- "The Storyteller. " Soldiers sneak Grandma food, and respect her for her tale-crafting skills. She can make despair feel less necessary and remind people of things long forgotten. Don’t think this is just a morality tale that will bore kids with little lessons in being kind (though they will find those). .. quite a bit is happening. There’s an evil Emperor, a gorgeous Sea Maiden Princess, and two young children who are trying to save their family and possibly the entire world. In fact, I was reminded of Dickens’ "Tale of Two Cities". .. where in that last chapter, everything is reveled and you feel like you want to start all over with the new, most important key to the whole craftily spun tale. This story is a conclusion to two other related but not required books that are also fantastic. If you have the choice, read them in order. It is not, however, necessary as each has legs to stand on their own. I read the other two books so long ago that while I remember bits of them, they did not help me along in this story except remind me that the stories I heard in this book were sometimes touched on in the other two and that is basically the point of this whole book. Stories connect us. Friendships are formed because of shared moments, of tales told, memories being made and these "things". .. well. .. we get to keep them forever.

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