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A Single Shard

A Single Shard

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A Single Shard

évaluations:
4.5/5 (70 évaluations)
Longueur:
162 pages
2 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Apr 23, 2001
ISBN:
9780547350042
Format:
Livre

Description

The Newbery Medal-winning tale of an orphan boy whose dream of becoming a master potter leads to unforeseen adventure in ancient Korea.​

Tree-ear is an orphan boy in a 12th-century Korean village renowned for its ceramics. When he accidentally breaks a delicate piece of pottery, he volunteers to work to pay for the damage. Putting aside his own dreams, Tree-ear resolves to serve the master potter by embarking on a difficult and dangerous journey, little knowing that it will change his life forever.

“Intrigues, danger, and a strong focus on doing what is right turn a simple story into a compelling read. . . . A timeless jewel.”–Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Éditeur:
Sortie:
Apr 23, 2001
ISBN:
9780547350042
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Linda Sue Park is the author of the Newbery Medal-winning A Single Shard, the best-seller A Long Walk to Water, and the highly-praised novel Prairie Lotus. She has also written several acclaimed picture books and serves on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. She lives in western New York with her family. www.lindasuepark.com, Twitter: @LindaSuePark

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A Single Shard - Linda Sue Park

Media

Copyright © 2001 by Linda Sue Park

Introduction © 2002 by the American Library Association. Originally printed in Journal of Youth Services in Libraries, Summer 2002. Used with permission.

All rights reserved. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to trade.permissions@hmhco.com or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.

Clarion Books is an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

hmhbooks.com

Cover illustration © 2021 by Dion MBD

Cover design by Kaitlin Yang

The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows:

Park, Linda Sue.

A single shard / by Linda Sue Park,

p. cm.

Summary: Tree-ear, a thirteen-year-old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge in a potters’ village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself.

1. Pottery—Fiction. [1. Korea—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.P22115 Si 2001

[Fic]—dc21 00-043102

ISBN 978-0-395-97827-6 hardcover

ISBN 978-0-547-53426-8 paperback

eISBN 978-0-547-35004-2

v5.0321

TO DINAH,

BECAUSE SHE ASKED FOR ANOTHER BOOK

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to sculptor and ceramicist Po-wen Liu, who read the manuscript of this book and offered valuable comments regarding the making of celadon ware. Any errors that remain are my responsibility.

My critique partner Marsha Hayles and my agent, Ginger Knowlton, continue to give me both enthusiastic support and critical feedback—a combination of inestimable worth to a writer. Dinah Stevenson and the people at Clarion Books have made the publication of each of my books a true pleasure.

Every story I write is for Sean and Anna. To them and to all my family, boundless gratitude—especially and always, to Ben.

2002 Newbery Award Acceptance Speech

by Linda Sue Park

I would like to begin by proposing that we officially add a second r to the spelling of Newbery. That way none of us ever has to see it misspelled again . . .


I understand it is traditional in this speech to discuss The Call, so I am going to do that now and get it over with—because it was not one of my shining eloquent moments. I had gone to bed the night before with my fingers crossed for what I thought was the far-fetched possibility of a Newbery Honor for A Single Shard. That was as far as my dreams took me. So when Kathy Odean introduced herself and said something like "We’re delighted to tell you that A Single Shard has been named the 2002 Newbery Award book, I was utterly unprepared. I thought she must have said hon-ORED. Award? I said. Yes, she said. We’re so excited; we think it’s a wonderful book— The AWARD? I said again. Yes, the award, she said. That would be the win-ner, with the gold sticker."

At that point my knees buckled, which had never happened to me before. And I remember thinking, I’ve read this! Her knees buckled—so this is what it feels like!

Kathy also explained that the speakerphone wasn’t working, so she was the only one who’d heard me make a complete fool of myself in three words or less. About fifteen minutes after I’d hung up, the phone rang again. Hi, this is Kathleen Odean again— I was sure she was calling to say that there had been a mistake. But instead she said, The speakerphone is working now, and we all want to hear you. So I am honored to have received The Call twice in one day!


Since that day I have been asked many times how I came to write a book worthy of that precious sticker. I would like to begin my answer here tonight by telling a story.

Once upon a time there was a young Korean couple. They had been in America for only a few years, and their English was not very good. They were living in the Chicago suburbs, and a city newspaper ran on its comics pages a single-frame cartoon that taught the alphabet phonetically. The young woman cut out every one of those cartoons and glued them onto the pages of one of her old college textbooks. In this way she made an alphabet book for her four-year-old daughter. And so it was that on her first day of school, that little girl, the daughter of Korean immigrants, was the only child in her kindergarten class who could already read.

That was how my life as a reader began—like so many stories, with a mother. Mine continues with a father who took me to the library. He took me to the library. (That was the Park Forest Public Library in Park Forest, Illinois.) Every two weeks without fail, unless we were out of town, he spent an hour each Saturday morning choosing books for my siblings and me.

A few years ago, I was thinking about how my father must have known very little about American children’s literature when we were growing up. So I asked him, How did you choose books for us? Oh—I’ll show you, he said. He left the room for a few moments and came back with a battered accordion file and handed it to me. Inside were dozens of publications listing recommended children’s books— brochures, flyers, pamphlets—and most of them were issued by ALA. The importance of my library upbringing was brought home to me in an unexpected way with the publication of my first book, Seesaw Girl. In the summer of 1999, my editor at Clarion Books, Dinah Stevenson, sent me my first author copy, and as you might imagine, it was the most thrilling moment of my life (that is, until the morning of January 21!). I loved Jean and Mou-sien Tseng’s cover artwork. It was unquestionably the most beautiful book that had ever been published. But . . . but . . . something was niggling at me. Something wasn’t quite right, and I had no idea what it was.

A few weeks later, I had my first book signing. A woman with a bookbag approached the table and said, I’m a librarian. I already bought two copies of your book for our collection—would you mind signing previously purchased copies? Of course I didn’t mind, so she pulled the two books out of her bag and handed them to me.

They were already covered with that clear cellophane—you know the stuff I mean. And it was like a lightning bolt—that was what had been missing from my first author copy! That transparent cover was what made a real book!


A Single Shard has so many connections to reading and other books that it’s hard to know where to begin. The idea itself was born when I was doing research for Seesaw Girl. I have done a lot of research for all of my books, because my childhood was pretty typically suburban American. My family ate Korean food and kept other aspects of Korean culture alive in our home, but I knew very little about Korea itself. And a crucial point: I do not speak Korean, other than those three phrases essential in any language: anyanghaseyo (hello); komopsunida (thank you); pyunsul odisoyo (where is the bathroom). I often feel the lack of my ancestral tongue keenly, but on the other hand, I try not to forget the flip side—that when I write, I am writing in my first language. So I learned about Korea by reading and writing about it, and what I learned was so interesting that I thought I might like to pass it on, especially to young people. I do not believe you have to have children or be around children or act like a child to write for children. But I do believe that good children’s writers share two characteristics with their readers: curiosity and enthusiasm. These qualities are what make books for young people such a joyful challenge to write and read: the ardent desire to learn more about the world, and the passion with which that knowledge is received and shared.

In my reading I came across the information that in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Korea had produced the finest pottery in the world, better than even China’s, and I decided to set my third novel in that time period. As I was mulling over story ideas, my son said something like Why can’t you write books like Gary Paulsen’s? He had loved Hatchet and wanted me to write an adventure story, a road book. So that is where the journey part of the story came in.

During the writing of the book, I got hopelessly stuck because I was not familiar with the part of Korea that Tree-ear had to travel through. Photographs and maps were simply not enough, and I did not have the wherewithal for a trip to Korea. I was in writerly despair. And just at that time I came across a book called Korea: A Walk Through the Land of Miracles, by Simon Winchester. He will be more familiar to many of you as the author of the best-selling The Professor and the Madman, about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary, but years earlier he had written this book about Korea, which I had purchased and never read and forgotten about. I found it in a box at my parents’ house. Not only had the author walked the length of South Korea in 1987, but he had walked exactly where I needed him to walk, from Puyo almost all the way to Songdo. He described the landscape and what it was like to walk so far over that specific terrain, and I had what I needed to complete the book. I am happy to have the opportunity to thank Mr. Winchester publicly here, for Shard would not have been the same story without his work.

The ending of Shard came to me in a single moment: when I saw the photograph of a beautiful celadon vase covered with cranes and clouds in a book of Korean art. I knew in that instant that the character in the book would grow up to make that vase. And for him to make such a remarkable work of art, he would need not only tremendous craftsmanship but also a great love for someone who had something to do with cranes. (By the way, when I first saw that photo, I thought the birds on the vase were storks. In early drafts, Crane-man is called Stork-man!)

Much later, after the book was finished, I realized that the story owed a huge debt to another book: I, Juan de Pareja, by Elizabeth Borton de Treviño, which won the Newbery Medal in 1966. In that book, the orphaned black slave Juan de Pareja becomes an assistant to the painter Velázquez and is eventually freed by his master, which enables him to pursue his own painting career. The ending speculates on how a certain Velázquez work came to be painted, just as Shard speculates about that vase.

I, Juan de Pareja had been one of my favorite books as a child, and I read it again from time to time, always with great pleasure. Last winter I wrote an article for Booklist magazine in which I listed what have proven to be the three most memorable books of my childhood and described what I had loved about them. I was startled to realize that two of the three titles featured black protagonists—Juan and Roosevelt Grady by Louisa Shotwell—and that the third, What Then, Raman? by Shirley Arora, was about another dark-skinned child, a boy living in India.

In retrospect, it should not have been surprising. When I was a child, there were hardly any books featuring Asian characters. I did not realize it at the time, but I had obviously responded to the plight of the outsider in those three books. The relationship between Korean Americans and African Americans has a troubled history here in the U.S.; sporadic headlines over the years tell the sad story

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4.5
70 évaluations / 66 Avis
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  • (4/5)
    In 12th-century Korea the orphan Tree-Ear longs to become a potter and learn the art of creating the much-sought exquisite celadon pottery his village is known for. His big chance comes when he begins to work for the master potter Min, and a competition for a royal commission. This middle-grade novel is a beautiful introduction to the Korean culture, as well as to the art of pottery. Park gives us a wonderful cast of characters, starting with the main character, Tree-Ear, an orphan who wound up in the care of the homeless Crane-man, who was crippled from birth and lived under a bridge. I love their relationship, how they care for one another, and give to one another so selflessly. I also really appreciated the complex relationship of Tree-Ear to his mentor Min, and to Min’s wife, Ajima. The cultural barriers to truly bringing him on as an apprentice were as shocking to Tree-Ear as they were to this reader. I learned much about celadon pottery, and particularly the uniqueness of the inlay process. The Author Notes expand on the culture and the art, and sent me to Google to look up the Thousand Cranes vase. The novel was awarded the Newbery Medal for excellence in Children’s Literature.
  • (5/5)
    A long long time ago in a potters’ village in Korea there lived an orphan named Tree-ear. He lived under a bridge with Crain-man, who had taken him in as a toddler. Together they foraged for food, told stories, and kept each other company. Thirteen-year-old Tree-ear loved to watch an older potter at the wheel and see the pieces he made. One day while examining a ceramic box in the potter’s workshop, Tree-ear is startled and drops it. The potter, Min, is furious and berates Tree-ear. The piece is very valuable, and Tree-ear agrees to pay off the debt by working for Min. The work is hard, harder than Tree-ear ever imagined, but it's also satisfying. Tree-ear wants more than anything to learn to use the wheel and create his own pieces. But Min will not teach Tree-ear the craft, as it's passed down from father to son, and Tree-ear is only an orphan. News arrives that the royal court is coming to look at the potters’ pieces, and maybe pick one of the men and put his work on commission. Min hopes he's selected, but is another potter working on a new technique? What will become of Tree-ear if Min is selected? Will Tree-ear ever learn to use the wheel?

    I didn’t know much about A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park. What a treat it turned out to be. I loved how the words flowed, and I felt like I was being told an elaborate bedtime story every time I picked it up. The relationship between Crain-man and Tree-ear was so special that it tugged at my heart. I was impressed by how hard Tree-ear worked and how driven he was to learn the ways of the potter.Tree-ear is respectful of others, and I liked the way he thought of their feelings. There are a couple of scenes that broke my heart, but I truly loved the way the story unfolded. I would recommend this book to readers fourth grade and up who like historical fiction and stories with amazing characters. You will be rooting for Tree-ear!
  • (5/5)
    A poor worker in 11th century Korea works hard to become an apprentice to a potter and learns to make beautiful celadon vases. The story is about Tree Ear and his friend and the obstacles and troubles they have to overcome. Excellent book.
  • (5/5)
    This is a beautifully written story. It's truly incredible how Linda Sue Park conveys the spirits of her mostly male characters.My middle school students and I learned much about a time, a place, and a culture that we weren't familiar with before. One roots for little Tree-Ear as he never gives up on his dream. This is the ultimate story of perseverance and ( thank goodness) an uplifting and happy ending.
  • (4/5)
    Tree-Ear is an orphan who, with the help of a fatherly friend named Crane-Man, scrape out a living rummaging through trash heaps and learning to read the world around them. Tree-Ear is a resourceful and optimistic young man with an eye for something of beauty - pottery. Growing up in 12th century Korea, Tree-Ear knows the value of the art of pottery making. He loves to watch a local potter, Min, create his pieces of art. When he thinks no one is around, Tree-Ear decides to examine the pottery up close. When the potter suddenly returns and surprises Tree-Ear, one of the pieces if broken. To pay for the loss to the potter, Tree-Ear agrees to work for Min. Thus begins an unusual relationship between servant and master. Tree-Ear is a faithful worker and soon learns his tasks. Through a series of events, Tree-Ear ends up on the road to the capital to take a sample of a new piece of pottery for the inspection of the emissary with the hopes of receiving a royal commission. Unfortunately, things do not go well for Tree-Ear and all he left with to show at the royal court is a single shard of pottery, all that is left of Min's fine work. This story is rich with cultural and historical information and adds depth for the reader. Within its pages, this novel the ideas of what makes us who we are, the difficulties of pride, and what makes a family.
  • (4/5)
    This book is written for 10-12-year-olds but I found it a nice read for adults as well. I'll remember the story a long time. A Korean orphan living under a bridge with an older, crippled man, obtains scraps of food wherever he can. Their small town is home to many potters and all aspire to get a commission from the palace so they can make more money. The boy is interested in the potting trade and one day breaks a piece of pottery accidentally. The master potter allows the boy to make up for it by working for him until the debt is paid. Longs days of hard work begin, and the boy longs to learn the trade, but the grumpy old potter doesn't allow him near the potting wheel.

    Emissaries from the palace come to town to choose a couple potters for commissioned work for the palace and competition is stiff. A series of events lead to a long, dangerous trip for the boy.

    At the ages the book is intended for, many young people devour books and I think this one would be a hit with them. The book is a Newberry Medal winner.
  • (5/5)
    I found this story surprisingly short and soothing...
  • (5/5)
    Fascinating culture, lovable characters, excellent plot, and dramatic twists... This book is amazing! It makes you laugh and cry. It is written for middle-school aged kids, but I still re-read it every few years and always enjoy it just as much. This is one of my favorite children's fiction books ever.Without doubt, Linda Sue Park's best work.Recommended!!
  • (5/5)
    This is a wonderful book. A twelve year old orphaned boy named Tree-ear, lives under a bridge with a crippled man named Crane-man in 12th century Korea. He spends his days foraging for his next meal and spying on the best of the local potters, an gruff older man named Min. When Tree-ear accidently breaks a piece of Min's pottery, he finds himself doing menial chores for Min to pay off his debt. In addition to teaching the reader a bit about making pottery, especially celadon wares, the story goes on to describe Min's chance at securing a royal commission for his work, Tree-ear's involvment in same, and Tree-ear's lifelong dream to learn from Min the art of making pottery. Along the way, author Linda Sue Park masterfully weaves the themes of courage, survival honesty, hope, death and family into the story. This book is suggested for an age group of around 5th through 8th grades. I am reading it (for the second time) in order to help my 4th grader do a book report and project. I think that the younger set would need some guidance to identify and fully understand some of the themes involved, but I would also recommend it without hesitation to anyone beyond that age level.
  • (4/5)
    This was a beautiful book! I loved the relationships between Tree-Ear and Crane-Man. I thought Crane-Man was such a wonderful father - he shared wisdom with Tree-Ear and encouraged him to dream and encouraged him to be honorable. Those qualities gained Tree-Ear a great treasure in the end. I also fully enjoyed the setting of the novel - 12th century Korea.
  • (4/5)
    Tree-Ear, a nameless orphan in medieval Korea is captivated by the work of the potters and longs to work the clay himself. Tree-Ear strives to be honest in all his doings and works hard to achieve his goals. It’s a sweet tale, weaving in the importance of family and dedication to one’s art.
  • (5/5)
    When I read the summary and found that the setting of this book was in 12th century Korea, and about an orphan living under a bridge who was interested in making pottery, I wasn't sure I was going to like it. But, it turned out to be a beautiful book. The dreams and desires of the 12-year-old hero have that quality of timelessness that transcend centuries!
  • (5/5)
    A Single Shard is a touching book about Tree Ear, an orphan in Korea who has become fascinated with the work of a local potter. Through an unfortunate accident, Tree Ear gets an opportunity to work for the potter, giving him more time to observe his work. Later, Tree Ear is sent on an important mission that will ultimately change his life.This book is beautifully written, and contains many teachable moments as Tree Ear struggles with issues about values, integrity, perseverance, etc. guided by his friend, a crippled man who has cared for Tree Ear since he was a baby. The book offers opportunities for discussions and debate, as well as extensions to learn about the process of Korean pottery-making and Celedon glazing. Well-written characters and well-balanced plot make this an excellent read for Middle School-age children.
  • (5/5)
    My girls and I listened to this in the car. One day we were running errands and when we got to the parking lot of the store, we sat there in the car unable to get out because we were so sucked into the story.
  • (5/5)
    Some very lovely characters in this book, crane man a wise old adopted father shows understanding and gives some great advice and is a lovely companion for the main character Tree Ear. The developing relationship between Min, his wife and Tree Ear is touching. He has to work hard to learn the skill he has set himself as a goal but with many challenges along the way. I love the language that is used to describe the pottery processes.The way the "question demon" is dealt with is very well written. A question about stealing an idea is discussed in the middle of the night between tree ear and crane man. The advice is well presented.
  • (4/5)
    A Single Shard tells the story of Tree-ear, an orphan boy in a twelfth century Korean seaside village. This village is known for its pottery, and Tree-ear soon finds himself apprenticed to Min, a crotchety local potter known for his meticulous work and short temper. It is Tree-ear’s dream to learn to throw a pot, but Min keeps him busy with hauling wood and clay, rather than teaching him the art of pottery.

    When a royal emissary visits the village, he is impressed by Min’s pottery and requests a further sample to be brought to him in the city so he can decide whether he will grant Min a commission. Tree-ear volunteers to make the perilous journey and take the work to the emissary.

    I enjoyed the audio version of this book. I found the characters to be very lovable and the story touching. It was somewhat predictable, but I admit a shed a few tears at the end. This book won the Newbery in 2002, and I was happy to read a Newbery I enjoyed.
  • (5/5)
    A homeless boy in Korea learns the art of pottery from a master who doesn't want to teach him. Eventually, the potter allows the boy to do more than just dig clay from the mountain sides. When the master is chosen to bring his pots to the royal court, the boy uncovers a secret that changes pottery forever in Korea.I enjoyed reading this book very much. It was an easy read, but the ideas were original, and the setting was vivid. It is perfect for the intermediate reader who enjoys realistic fiction with cultural immersion.
  • (3/5)
    I picked this up because it was a Newbery award winner, and because I'd rather enjoyed another book by Park, "When my Name was Keoko," which deals with more modern Korean history. This story is also set in Korea, but in the 12th century. It tells of an orphan boy, Tree-Ear, who gradually becomes assistant to a talented potter, and finds himself going on a journey to try to win the potter an Imperial commission. The characters are sensitively drawn and believable, and the small dramas of the tale momentous in feeling. Plus, the reader gets to learn a little bit about Korean pottery, which is very interesting!
  • (5/5)
    Awesome historical fiction. Intense world-expanding read.
  • (4/5)
    What a nice little book this is! It's the tale of Tree-ear, an orphan boy in 12th Century Korea. Well, technically he's an orphan. He lives under a bridge with a one legged gent called Crane-man. It's a poor existance, but they look out for each other. A fascination with a local potter leads Tree-ear to job of sorts, doing all sorts of small tasks for him. How the relationships develop and how Tree-ear ends up heading to the capital city is a story worth checking out. It's well written, and the characters are especially engaging. Its Newberry medal is well earned.--J.
  • (5/5)
    A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (2011) is a Newbery award winning book about a young boy who discovers his interest in pot making. Tree-ear is an orphan from Korea who lives under a bridge with the only father he has ever known, Crane-man. Throughout the story many moral issues are brought up and discussed between the two main characters. The author presents an authentic view of Korea and it's culture during the 1100's. Park spent time in Korea with her aunt's traditional Korean home. This experience helped Park write her books.In a classroom this book would provide a great way to discuss moral issues. Teaching students to have good morals is apart of democratic teaching. Literature groups could be formed around this novel with each student having a specific job to help the group.
  • (5/5)
    Tree-ear is an orphan in the 12th century. He lives under a bridge with Crane-man. Because he is an orphan and has no family, he is shunned by the people of the village. He lives on scraps of food but is slowly starving to death. One day he sees Min, a master potter, at work and marvels at the beautiful pottery. Tree-ear sneaks into Min's workshop and accidentally breaks a pot. Now he must work for Min to pay him back for the broken pot. The two slowly come to realize that they need each other. Then one day Tree-tea is given an important assignment: deliver a pot to the King's Court. During this journey he is attacked and the pot shatters on the ground. Tree-tea manages to find a single shard that shows the beauty of Min's design. Will it be enough to show the King how deserving Min is of becoming the King's official potter?This is such a wonderfully written book. The subject of Korea and it's pottery which flourished in the 11th and 12th century. It was even considered better than pottery from China! Linda Sue Park has combined several elements, family and adventure, into a story that educates as well as entertains us.
  • (5/5)
    This book was a lot more fun than I was expecting. Written at a low young adult reading level, it tells the story of Tree Ear, a homeless orphan who goes to work for a master potter after breaking a priceless vase. The novel includes many familiar elements of coming-of-age fiction: a wise, old mentor, a period of training and trials, and a long journey filled with hardship. What sets the book apart is its unusual setting and subject matter.Celadon pottery, a speciality of 14th century Korea, is not a subject I would have ever dreamed would interest me, but after reading Linda Sue Park's vivid descriptions of its beauty, I found myself longing for a pottery wheel and some clay. Soon I was absorbed in the drama of the firing process, dying to know if the Master could achieve the perfect green hue and win a coveted royal commission.This book would be a great way to get kids interested in art and culture, but I think adults will enjoy it too. It's very quick reading and a great choice if you're looking for something light that would still expose you to something new.
  • (5/5)
    There is so much in this story it is hard to put it into any one category. Tree-ear was orphaned when he was ten and raised by Crane-man (so named because of his one unusable leg). Both live in poverty under the bridge in Ch’ulp’o, a town famous for its celadon pottery. Tree-ear is fascinated with the potter Min - the best potter in the town. Tree-ear hopes to learn to be a potter himself one day. When Tree-ear accidentally breaks one of Min's pieces he volunteers to work off his debt. This is a wonderful opportunity for Tree-ear, but it is hard work for a grouchy Min. As the story unfolds Tree-ear learns more about the art of pottery, and we learn more about Min and his wife. Min's wife is extremely kind to Tree-ear, even sending him home with food so that Crane-man can eat as well. Towards the end of the book, Tree-ear must make the long journey to bring samples of Min's pottery to see if Min can obtain a commission from the royal court. Through a series of events, Tree-ear arrives with only a single shard of the pottery for inspection, but that is enough.This is a story of humility, hard work, family, and friendship, and perseverance. The relationship between the characters is beautifully painted in the works of Linda Sue Park.
  • (4/5)
    This is a beautiful story. Love the way the author conveys the spirits of male characters, mostly. Great way to learn about a time, a place, and a culture that you or/and students weren't familiar with before, with an uplifting and happy ending.
  • (5/5)
    The twelfth-century Korean village of Ch’ulp’o is famous for its celadon pottery. Tree-ear, a young orphan, spends his days foraging for food on the fringes of society. The book opens with Tree-ear living under a bridge with Crane-man, a lame man who has cared for him most of his life. While foraging for food around the village, Tree-ear begins to watch Min, a master potter as he throws clay. Through his determination and desire to learn, Tree-ear apprentices himself to Min and begins the difficult task of satisfying the perfectionist, Min. Richly detailed, the book is a wonderful portrait of life in Korea and a tale of strength and determination. Tree-ear, in spite of his poverty and hunger, throws himself into learning with will and determination.
  • (5/5)
    I love this story. The characters are unforgettable.
  • (3/5)
    This book is really boring until the last chapter.
  • (4/5)
    Tree-Ear is a homeless youth who is fascinated with the work of a local potter, Min. One day he accidentally breaks a piece of Min's pottery and the old man scolds him severely, but Tree-Ear begs Min to let him work off what he owes. Min finally agrees but gives Tree-Ear the laborious tasks of chopping wood for the kiln and digging for clay. Tree-Ear works hard and shares his experiences with his friend, Crane-Man. When the emissary comes to the villiage to select a potter to commission work, Tree -Ear is certain that the potter selected will be Min, but one day he glances another local potter's work. This potter, Kang, is creating designs that Tree-Ear has never seen before, using an in-lay technique. Kang's work is selected, and Min sets out to learn the new technique. Tree-Ear continues to work with him and learn the art of pottery. When Min finally finishes pots worthy to send to the emissary, Tree-Ear agrees to deliver them. In an unfortunate run-in with bandits, the pots are destroyed, but Tree-ear finds one single shard with evidence of the in-lay and Min's extraordinary skill which he takes to the emissary.
  • (5/5)
    I read this book very quickly and though it's a Newbery Winner, I just didn't find any one outstanding section. The book as a whole was a very enjoyable read. It covers a range of emotion as well as situations, moving from poverty to a feeling of usefulness, from the joys of friendship to the sadness of losing loved ones and the joys of family. It is easy to see why A Single Shard won the Newbery Award. The book plays before the reader's eyes, creating a visual that is not as much a description as it is simply factual. We all know what a wheelbarrow looks like, but what is the experience of pushing it over roots and bumps in a road while trying not to break pottery? Most of us understand the idea of firing pottery, but how does it feel to stand around and wait to see if that final stage comes out exactly how you'd hoped it would? These are the sorts of descriptions you will experience within these pages... and yet the reader will also find so much more. One of the lines near the end of this book reads: "There were some things that could not be molded into words." Nothing is truer of the the thoughts and feelings that come along with experiencing this wonderful read.