Fr. 28.50

The Secret of the Magic Pearl

English · Hardback

Will be released 12.10.2021


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Translation of: Mio padre âe un palombaro.

About the author

Elisa Sabatinelli was born in Fano, Italy, and grew up in Barcelona, Spain. She has published short stories and a novel for adults. The Secret of the Magic Pearl is her first book for children. Ms. Sabatinelli lives in Milan with her husband and two children. To learn more, visit her on Facebook at @elisa.sabatinelli

Iacopo Bruno has illustrated hundreds of book covers and has received recognition from the Society of Illustrators in New York, the Cook Prize, and his book, Sergeant Reckless, written by Patricia McCormick, won the Texas Bluebonnet Award and the California Young Reader Medal 2021. Other books illustrated by Iacopo Bruno include Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France by Mara Rockliff; and Bartali’s Bicycle: The True Story of Gino Bartali, Italy’s Secret Hero by Megan Hoyt. When he is not drawing, he takes his boat in search of dolphins and, if the weather is bad, restores paintings and antique furniture in his cellar full of tools and curiosities. Learn more at his website: and

Christopher Turner is an Italian to English translator, editor and professional writer. He has translated many children’s books into English in his 30-year career including the popular Geronimo Stilton books. He lives in Wimbledon, London. Learn more at:


Dive below the waves to where the real adventure begins.

Hector lives with his family at the Marina in an Italian coastal town where they organize tourist expeditions to explore the many wonders of the sea. Hector’s dream is to become a deep-sea diver, just like his father. Then, one day, an unscrupulous entrepreneur opens a much newer center next door, forcing them to close their business. This man has a single purpose, to find the legendary Pearl in order to sell it and make money. Hector decides to find a way to thwart the plan and save what matters most to him: the sea, his family, and his dream.


  • Special Launch Advance Reviewer Mailing (with RCP totes) 

  • Social Media Pre-sales Campaign (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)

  • Social Media Paid-Advertising Campaign (still, animated, and video on Facebook)

  • Special VIP Mailing to key social media influencers, teachers, bookstores, and librarians

  • Trade advertising in PW including inclusion in a ½ page in the Children’s Announcement Issue (7/19)

  • advertising 

  • Featured title on

  • Activity/Resource Guide

  • Publicity outreach (Blue Slip Media)

  • Inclusion in Red Comet Press Launch Publicity (PW Children’s Newsletter feature, Shelf Awareness, Fuse#8 Blog interview/School Library Journal, interview/WETA(PBS Kids), Publishing Talks podcast interview, WorldKitLit interview

Additional text

Praise for The Secret of the Magic Pearl:

A 2021 Booklist Editors' Choice
A Best Middle-Grade Book of the Year 2021 – Kirkus Reviews
Best Middle-Grade Nature Book of 2021 – Kirkus Reviews

 "Beautiful, remarkable, amazing, and wonderful in every way. Sabatinelli provides Hector with a voice that soars with lilting, expressive language, losing nothing in Turner’s translation from Italian. Bruno’s intensely bright, sharply hued illustrations are a tour de force" Kirkus Reviews, starred review

 "Hector is an appealing and adorable protagonist, and the glowing descriptions bring the bustling seaside town fully to life. Bruno’s accompanying illustrations are an absolute delight . . . An exceptional story that will have young readers longing for the sea.” Booklist, starred review

 "Sabatinelli, making her children’s debut, narrates deliberately, swinging between reflection and adventure. Diving scenes and undersea sensations are vividly described, all translated with skill and flair by Turner. Bruno drafts characters and scenery with polished elegance; hand-drawn chapter heading banners, labeled vignettes, and brilliant colors give the pages a luxe feel." Publishers Weekly, starred review

". . . a handsome book, printed in gorgeous, rich-hued colors, with a thoughtful hero, a first-rate villain, magic, adventure, and a convincing happy ending." The Horn Book Magazine

"This book has all the trappings of a splendid adventure tale, but it's Iacopo Bruno's illustrations that make it a truly enchanting read . . . adventure, danger and a well-earned happily ever after. Readers are in for a unique treat." BookPage

Beautifully illustrated with magical pictures by Iacopo Bruno, this Italian fantasy by Elisa Sabatinelli takes us to a village out of time with a boy who loves the ocean and dreams of diving like his father and grandfather before him. Keep an eye out for this book and the other titles from Red Comet! Bravo!”   Brian Selznick, Caldecott Medal winner

“Looking for a mysterious, fascinating, frightening, wonderful, perfectly illustrated tale from the depths of the sea? You are in luck. The Magic Pearl is calling you.” Jon Scieszka, First National Ambassador of Youth People’s Literature

A magical story book tale with heart and soul. Each radiant page turns like a wave reaching the shore to reveal its truth and beauty—and even a pearl of humanity.” Jack Gantos, Newbery Medal winner

"After reading The Secret of the Magic Pearl, I want to move straight to the tiny Italian fishing village where its hero Hector lives, and become a deep sea diver like him. It's a charming book, spiked with excitement and mystery, paced for extended sitting, and generously illuminated with lush and lively illustrations." Paul O. Zelinsky, Caldecott Medal winner

“Adventure, wisdom, beauty, dreams, it’s all here in this shining pearl of a book, picture perfect for a bedtime read-aloud for your seven/eight-year-old.” Avi, Newbery Medal winner

“Definitely a book to spend time with, not just reading but thoroughly combing through the illustrations, relishing all the details from beginning to end. . . The Secret of the Magic Pearl is a chapter book that combines past and present in a magical story. It will enchant readers in the same way that stories by Kate DiCamillo do.” - Randomly Reading Blog

"Wonderfully imaginative, magical, and bursting with superb illustrationsThe Secret of the Magic Pearl is everything an excellent story should be and more." - Books to Borrow - Books to Buy, syndicated column

Product details

Authors Elisa Sabatinelli
Assisted by Iacopo Bruno (Illustration), Christopher Turner (Translation)
Publisher Ingram Publishers Services
Languages English
Age Recommendation ages 6 to 10
Product format Hardback
Release 12.10.2021, delayed
EAN 9781636550060
ISBN 978-1-63655-006-0
No. of pages 92
Illustrations Color illustrations throughout
Subjects Children's and young people's books

JUVENILE FICTION / Fantasy & Magic, JUVENILE FICTION / Mysteries & Detective Stories, JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Marine Life, JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Europe, Picture storybooks, Adventure stories (Children's / Teenage), Children’s / Teenage fiction: Action & adventure stories, Children's / Teenage fiction: Magical realism

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