When You Trap a Tiger

By: Tae Keller

Some stories refuse to stay bottled up…

When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni’s Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now they want it back. And when one of the tigers approaches Lily with a deal—return what her grandmother stole in exchange for Halmoni’s health—Lily is tempted to agree. But deals with tigers are never what they seem! With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find her voice…and the courage to face a tiger.

Author’s note.

ISBN: 9781524715717

JLG Release: Mar 2020


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Sisters , Grandmothers , Storytelling , Sickness , Tigers , Korean Americans , Korean folklore , Friendship

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Upper Elementary & Junior High

Grades 5-7

12 titles/year

$195.60/year

Awards & Honors

Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction and Poetry Honor Book

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Kirkus Reviews*, Booklist*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

Lily has always loved her halmoni’s stories; Korean folktales that begin, “long, long ago, when tiger walked like a man.” But Lily never expected to encounter the fierce magical tiger in her sick grandmother’s basement, or to strike a deal to heal Halmoni by releasing the powerful stories she stole as a young woman. Keller illuminates Lily Lily has always loved her halmoni’s stories; Korean folktales that begin, “long, long ago, when tiger walked like a man.” But Lily never expected to encounter the fierce magical tiger in her sick grandmother’s basement, or to strike a deal to heal Halmoni by releasing the powerful stories she stole as a young woman. Keller illuminates Lily’s desperation to heal Halmoni and bring her family together through the tiger stories interspersed throughout the book; stories of heroism and self-sacrifice, of sisterhood and bravery. Yet the book’s greatest strength is in its complex human characters, from Halmoni whose traumatic immigration story spurs her to unite her community through kindness and herbal remedies, to Lily’s prickly older sister Sam, whose grief and fear stirred up by Halmoni’s illness exists alongside a budding romance with a new girlfriend. Lily worries about her invisibility and living up to the “quiet Asian girl” stereotype she hates, but she doesn’t know how else to cope with her volatile teenage sister or her mother’s need to pretend that everything is okay, despite the weight of family trauma past and present. Keller weaves ancient folklore with Korean history through contemporary magical realism. She calls on the power of stories to bring families and communities together and the ability to heal by speaking to their pasts. This deeply moving book is a must-purchase for all collections, showcasing vulnerable and mythic storytelling in the vein of Erin Entrada Kelly and Kacen Callender.

Book Details

ISBN

9781524715717

First Release

March 2020

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Page Count

304

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.1; Points: 8;

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

Level 590L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Library edition with trade jacket added

Publisher

Random House

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Sisters, Grandmothers, Storytelling, Sickness, Tigers, Korean Americans, Korean folklore, Friendship,

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Cover Art

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