Secrets We Tell the Sea (Paperback)

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Secrets We Tell the Sea By Martha Riva Palacio Obon, Lourdes Heuer (Translated by) Cover Image
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The only good thing about Sofia's mom sending her to live with her abuela is that finally Sofia and the sea will meet face-to-face.

The sea has always called to Sofia, even when she and her mom lived in a big city nowhere near its shore. That's how Sofia always knew she was a mermaid--that, and the fact that the sea and its creatures are much easier to understand than people. Like her mother, who is sending Sofia away instead of her barracuda of a boyfriend; that's a flying fish if Sofia's ever seen one, spending so much time reaching for the sky she can't see what's going on below the surface. When Sofia meets her abuela, she knows she's up against a sea dragon: fierce and guarded, but maybe not so bad when you're the one she's guarding. Still, Sofia longs to meet another mermaid, someone who understands her and the sea completely.

When Sofia meets Louisa, it seems like she's found just that--until the sea betrays them both in one irreversible moment. Soon their town is overtaken by hurricanes and floods and emotions and questions so big Sofia doesn't know what to do with them. Like, how do you catch a flying fish? How do you make friends with the sea again? And how do you calm the rough waters within yourself?

About the Author

Martha Riva Palacio Obón is a Mexican author of novels, poetry, stories, and television for children of all ages. She won the 2011 Premio Barco de Vapor for Mermaids Dream of Trilobites (which was also selected in 2013 for the White Ravens International Children's Library Catalog), as well as the 2014 Premio Hispanoamericano de Poesía para Niños for her illustrated poetry book Lunática. She has a degree in psychology.

Lourdes Heuer is a children's book author and poet. She was born in Spain to Cuban immigrant parents, then moved to the United States in 1984. She holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is an Associate Professor of English at Broward College. She lives in South Florida with her husband, son and three dogs. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @LourdesHeuer.

Praise For…

“Throughout this profound and insightful tour de force, Palacio Obon employs humor, lighthearted observations, and elements of magical realism alongside Sofía's astute third-person narration to tackle challenging topics.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This profound work of magical realism overlays a girl's real world with the splendors and perils of the sea. An exquisite portrait of friendship, loss, healing, and the untamable forces of childhood inquisitiveness, individuality, and insightfulness.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review

“[A] sensitive and compelling story . . . Palacio Obón uses a vivid and fast-paced narrative to make Sofía's experiences realistic and relatable to readers, while highlighting important cultural connections to the powerful role of the sea in many Latin cultures.” —Horn Book Magazine

“The author weaves a rich magical realism story that reads with the simplicity and heart of a fable, taking the complexity of humanity and making it tangible. . . [A] needed and treasured fantasy.” —BCCB

“Magical . . . Readers will be left both intrigued and . . . emotionally blown away.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This book will leave readers with the sounds of the sea playing in their ears.” —Booklist

Product Details
ISBN: 9781547609024
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Publication Date: October 21st, 2025
Pages: 144
Language: English