Adventurers, Grab a jacket. We're Heading to China and It's Wintertime.
The Pick: When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
The Plot: Pinmei’s Amah (grandmother) is the best storyteller in their mountain village in China. One day the emperor’s soldiers burst through the door and take Pinmei’s Amah away. Pinmei and her friend, Yishan, follow the stories to fight the evil emperor and rescue Pinmei’s Amah.
The Pros and Cons: When the Sea Turned to Silver is another story I had added to my #30inNovember list without knowing anything about it. I was a little daunted by the thickness of the book, and my ability to read it in a day, but it turned out to be beautifully illustrated, and in a very readable font which combined to make it a quicker read. Also, I found that once I sat down to read When the Sea Turned to Silver, I didn’t want to stop.
Grace Lin has created a lovely world of Chinese characters, blending a little bit of history with a whole lot of Chinese folktales. The story weaves in and out of the folktales until you delightfully aren’t sure which is which. Characters in the tales take on new meaning as the plot thickens. I tried to guess how it would all turn out, but I was still surprised by the ending. I recommend the book to anyone ages 10 and up (younger ones too, but some of the allegory may be more confusing for them). When the Sea Turned to Silver would also make a great read-aloud book for the whole family. I’ll be getting two other Grace Lin books, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky soon!
Note for parents: This book does contain some Eastern Mysticism, and magical elements, but not more so than any fairytale or Aesop’s Fable. Images such as a turtle holding up the sky are common.
The Perfect Book For: Adventurers who know there is more out there than meets the eye.