tae keller

Middle grade author


Winner of the Newbery MEdal

Would you make a deal with a tiger?

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, the tigers want it back. And when one of those tigers approaches Lily with a deal—return what Halmoni stole in exchange for Halmoni's health—Lily is tempted to accept. 


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.

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     “Roars to life with just a touch of magic.”

–Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

      “If stories were written in the stars ... this wondrous tale would be one of the brightest.”

–Booklist, Starred Review

When You Trap a Tiger Newberry Award Pla

     “This deeply moving book is a must-purchase for all collections, showcasing vulnerable and mythic storytelling."                                                         –School Library Journal, Starred Review

       “[An] #OwnVoices journey through Korean mythology begins with a fantastical quest.”

–Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

      “A…satisfying story, one that foregrounds family and healing alongside a love for
Korean folklore.”                                                                               
–The Bulletin, Starred Review


How do you grow a miracle? 
For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific method. But Natalie's botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that's important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope. 

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.
Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She's going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids--flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. Because when parents are breakable, it's up to kids to save them, right?

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Science of Breakable_Yearling cvr[1].jpg

    "Full of heart. . .Keller’s layered, accessible story offers beautifully crafted metaphors, a theme of mending old friendships and creating new ones, and an empowering teacher to a variety of readers. A moving story about fragility and rebirth."    —Booklist, starred review

    "A compassionate glimpse of mental illness accessible to a broad audience."      —Kirkus, starred review

About the Author

Tae Keller is the Newbery award winning and New York Times bestselling author of When You Trap a Tiger and The Science of Breakable Things. She grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she subsisted on kimchi, purple rice, and stories. Now, she writes about biracial girls trying to find their voices, and lives in Seattle with her husband and a multitude of books.

Photo Credit: Saavedra Photography

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