When the Sea Turned to Silver

Finalist, National Book Awards 2016 for Young People's Literature

When the Sea Turned to Silver, by Grace Lin book cover
ISBN 9780316125925
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Grace Lin author photo
Grace Lin

Grace Lin is the author and illustrator of picture books, including the Ugly Vegetables and Dim Sum for Everyone! Her first children’s novel, The Year of the Dog was published in 2006. More about this author >

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Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei’s grandmother–before it’s too late.

A fast-paced adventure that is extraordinarily written and beautifully illustrated, When the Sea Turned to Silver is a masterpiece companion novel to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky.

Judges Citation

When the Sea Turned to Silver is an intricately woven magic carpet that transports the reader to an ancient China of myth, legend, and adventure. From the opening cry of the chained “Tortoise of Winter,” to the surprise ending that completes the pattern, these stories within stories are storytelling at its best.


Grace Lin reads from When the Sea Turned to Silver at 2016 NBAs Finalists Reading