A Single Shard

By Linda Sue Park,

Book cover of A Single Shard

Book description

Tree-ear is fascinated by the celedon ware created in the village of Ch’ulp’o. He is determined to prove himself to the master potter, Min—even if it means making a solitary journey to present Min’s work in the hope of a royal commission . . . or arriving at the royal…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked A Single Shard as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I adore this Newbery Medal book and read it with my students often. I especially love this edition because it includes the author’s Newbery Medal acceptance speech. A Single Shard features a plucky homeless orphan and the incorrigible master potter he yearns to emulate despite limitations placed on orphans by the remnants of Confucian philosophy and hierarchy. In addition to absorbing social customs of the Joseon era, readers will learn about the creation of celadon pottery that renowned Korean artisans have produced for centuries. A Single Shard is a beautiful novel I recommend for all ages.  

By 2002, when Linda Sue Park’s A Single Shard got the Newbery Medal, I had begun publishing books for children and young adults and had many friends who were also authors. We had a game of following the major awards and debating which books we felt really deserved all of the accolades. A Single Shard was one we all agreed on. Set in twelfth-century Korea, it tells the story of Tree-ear, a homeless orphan boy who dreams of being able to make beautiful pottery like the masters in the nearby potters’ village. This book has it all—compelling characters, a suspenseful…

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