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When You Trap a Tiger: Winner of the 2021 Newbery Medal Paperback – 28 January 2020

4.7 out of 5 stars 513 ratings

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Product description

About the Author

TAE KELLER was born and raised in Honolulu, where she grew up on purple rice, Spam musubi, and her halmoni's tiger stories. After high school, she moved in search of snow, and now lives in New York City. She is also the author of The Science of Breakable Things. Visit her at TaeKeller.com, follow her monthly love letters at bit.ly/lovetae, and find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Random House Books for Young Readers (28 January 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593175344
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593175347
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 276 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 20.8 x 2.7 x 14.1 cm
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ United Kingdom
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 513 ratings

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TAE KELLER grew up in Honolulu, where she wrote stories, ate Spam musubis, and participated in her school’s egg drop competition. (She did not win.) After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, she moved to New York City to work in publishing, and she now has a very stubborn Yorkie and a multitude of books as roommates.

Subscribe to her newsletter for writing updates and exclusive content: bit.ly/taekellernews

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
513 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

Marvin
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't think it will appeal to the targeted age group
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 September 2021
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Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for elementary students
Reviewed in the United States on 1 June 2021
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104 people found this helpful
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K.S.
5.0 out of 5 stars The blending of generations, cultures, magic, and reality.
Reviewed in the United States on 7 February 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars The blending of generations, cultures, magic, and reality.
Reviewed in the United States on 7 February 2020
Ever since she was a small child, Lily’s Halmoni has told her stories about tigers and warned her of their duplicity. When Lily’s family moves to Washington and she sees a tiger in the middle of the road, she learns that the stories her Halmoni told her are tangled with half-truths, stars, and family secrets. In an effort to save her Halmoni from her terminal illness, Lily traps the very tiger that she was warned about — but will it help heal Halmoni, or will the terrible stories grow teeth?

From the moment Lily looked out of the car window and spied a tiger in the rain, this story had my heart. It’s so much more than a novel about a girl learning to deal with the loss of her beloved grandmother — it’s a story about the blending of generations, the blending of cultures, and the blending of magic, myth, and reality. The very real and extremely raw challenges that Lily faces (moving to a new town, making new friends, dealing with a terminally ill family member, growing apart from her sister and mother) are infused with magic in a way that keeps readers questioning what is real and what is merely imagined.

One of the most obvious examples of this is that Lily repeatedly encounters and converses with a tiger, but only in the dead of night, and once after she admits to having fallen asleep. It would be easy to write off the tiger as a figment of her sleep-deprived imagination, but at the end of the story, the tiger clears a path through the rain — a path which Lily’s sister, Sam, can clearly see. Of course, Halmoni can see the tiger as well, but there are several heartbreaking scenes sprinkled throughout the novel that make it clear that hallucinations are a side effect of her brain cancer. So what is real, then? What power do words, stories, and tigers have?

As someone who doesn’t know much about Korean folklore and spirituality, I was fascinated with the mythology and descriptions of ritualistic practices such as kosa and using mugwort for protection. The author’s note at the end of the novel delves further into the author’s connection to her Korean heritage, and it’s definitely worth a read.

As a reader, writer, and teacher, I love this book because it is a story about stories. Lily finds inner-strength, yes, but it’s clear that words have strength, too. Ultimately, her power comes from being brave enough to forge her own story.
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LA in Dallas
4.0 out of 5 stars Long ago, long ago, when man walk like tiger...
Reviewed in the United States on 17 April 2021
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12 people found this helpful
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Prathima Iddamsetty
4.0 out of 5 stars It’s good
Reviewed in the United States on 18 June 2020
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20 people found this helpful
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