59 books like A Single Shard

By Linda Sue Park,

Here are 59 books that A Single Shard fans have personally recommended if you like A Single Shard. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Rachel Bithell Author Of Brave Bird at Wounded Knee: A Story of Protest on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

From my list on middle grade that feature inspiring teachers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Teachers and children’s writers are some of each other’s biggest fans, and I have been both, so I couldn’t resist putting a teacher in my book. Besides that, teachers are very useful characters because they can make kids in books do things like write reports or keep a journal. Initially, my main character, Patsy, doesn’t especially like her teacher, Miss Ashman. Patsy thinks she’s too strict. But by the end of the book, she realizes that challenging students and having high expectations are some of the things that make a great teacher. If you’ve ever had a teacher you loved, you’ll want to check out the books on this list. 

Rachel's book list on middle grade that feature inspiring teachers

Rachel Bithell Why did Rachel love this book?

I immediately fell in love with Cassie Logan, the spunky, resourceful main character in this classic novel. But by the end of the book, I had as much affection for her courageous mother, Mrs. Logan, a teacher who, in depression-era Mississippi, runs a school for African-American kids.

Among her pupils are some her own children, which I know from personal experience can be complicated. Of all the powerful themes in this book, an important, but often overlooked one is the power of teachers and schools to build community and respect for self and others.

Readers should know this book, written by a Black woman based on her childhood experiences, uses strong racial epithets, and young readers could benefit from thoughtful discussion with an adult.

By Mildred D. Taylor,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

The stunning repackage of a timeless Newbery Award Winner, with cover art by two-time Caldecott Honor Award winner Kadir Nelson!

With the land to hold them together, nothing can tear the Logans apart.

Why is the land so important to Cassie's family? It takes the events of one turbulent year-the year of the night riders and the burnings, the year a white girl humiliates Cassie in public simply because she is black-to show Cassie that having a place of their own is the Logan family's lifeblood. It is the land that gives the Logans their courage and pride, for no…


Book cover of The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Jo Schaffer Layton Author Of Badlands

From my list on characters who go through hell, survive, and also find love.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love books that entertain and uplift when characters learn and overcome. As a teenager, things happened that threw me into a painful tailspin, ending in a wilderness program for troubled kids. It taught me that I can do hard things and face challenges in life. I’ve lost loved ones, have a special needs child, divorced, been broke, earned my black belt, returned to school as a single mom for a degree, and co-founded a nonprofit to support literacy for kids. None of that was easy, but it increased my compassion and hope. Stories can be powerful reminders of human resilience, and that battle scars make someone more beautiful than before.

Jo's book list on characters who go through hell, survive, and also find love

Jo Schaffer Layton Why did Jo love this book?

I first read this book as a kid, and it’s one of the reasons I became an avid reader. It's set in Puritan New England and features romance, intrigue, and suspense. It has great historical detail, a fun story, and well-written characters.

The protagonist, 16-year-old Kit from Barbados, arrives in the harsh world of early colonial Connecticut and doesn’t fit in—and society punishes her for it! I found myself angry and outraged for her–I just wanted everything to be fair. This story is a light-handed look at how life isn’t fair. Frustration comes from expecting or demanding it to be. There will always be circumstances and people making things difficult. Can it be endured? Yes!

I love the main characters, Kit and Nat (the son of the boat Captain who brought Kit to the colonies). They are cute together. This is still one of my favorite books.

By Elizabeth George Speare,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Witch of Blackbird Pond as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In this Newbery Medal-winning novel, a girl faces prejudice and accusations of witchcraft in seventeenth-century Connecticut. A classic of historical fiction that continues to resonate across the generations.

Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met.

Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when…


Book cover of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Naila Moreira Author Of The Monarchs of Winghaven

From my list on making kids feel like mighty eco-warriors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved both nature and writing since childhood. My birdwatching and prior work as a geologist have taken me to the coasts, forests, and grasslands of New England, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Brazil, and beyond. Through it all, I’ve kept my pen busy writing about my adventures. A former writer-in-residence at the Shoals Marine Laboratory in Maine and beach naturalist with the Seattle Aquarium, I now teach at Smith College in Massachusetts, where I live with my family, many notebooks, and a garden full of native plants and wild birds. 

Naila's book list on making kids feel like mighty eco-warriors

Naila Moreira Why did Naila love this book?

There’s nothing I love more than a book about a gutsy girl.

Calpurnia, 11 years old in 1899, has to fight to learn natural science against her family’s expectations of becoming a good little housewife. My favorite part of this book is Callie’s relationship with her Granddaddy, a cantankerous Civil War veteran who also happens to be a passionate amateur naturalist. He encourages and sticks up for her as she learns what she yearns to know. 

For me, these two co-conspirators’ search for a new species captured the romance of science–the dream of contributing something new, the joy of the hunt, the collaboration with those who share your passions, and the beauty of even the smallest plant.

By Jacqueline Kelly,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

In this witty historical fiction middle grade novel set at the turn of the century, an 11-year-old girl explores the natural world, learns about science and animals, and grows up. A Newbery Honor Book.

“The most delightful historical novel for tweens in many, many years. . . . Callie's struggles to find a place in the world where she'll be encouraged in the gawky joys of intellectual curiosity are fresh, funny, and poignant today.” ―The New Yorker

Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much…


Book cover of Jesse

Lisa Rowe Fraustino Author Of I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts Bay Colony 1691 (Dear America Series)

From my list on historical fiction for tweens and teens.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an avid young White female reader of everything from cereal boxes to any book I could get my hands on, historical fiction was my favorite genre from an early age. I still love experiencing a different time and place vicariously through the eyes of protagonists different from myself. Both an author and a scholar, I’ve taught children’s and young adult literature for three decades and currently direct the Graduate Programs in Children’s Literature at Hollins University. My once contemporary PhD dissertation, Ash: A Novel (Orchard Books, 1995), has become historical fiction of sorts, due to the passage of time.

Lisa's book list on historical fiction for tweens and teens

Lisa Rowe Fraustino Why did Lisa love this book?

In 2014, I was on the Phoenix Award Committee of the Children’s Literature Association, given to a book published twenty years prior that didn’t get a major award when it first came out. We decided to give the Phoenix to Jesse, published in 1994 by Gary Soto, about a seventeen-year-old who works in the fields with his brother while putting himself through junior college. I love the book for all the reasons in the committee’s description: "Jesse is both a coming-of-age story of one Mexican-American boy with a poetic sensibility and the story of a community and a country at a difficult time—facing poverty and prejudice and war, problems we are still facing today. Jesse offers an unembellished slice of life in Vietnam-era Fresno, California.” 

By Gary Soto,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jesse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

In this new edition of his first young adult novel, Gary Soto paints a moving portrait of seventeen-year-old Jesse, who has left his parents' home to live with his older brother. These Mexican American brothers hope junior college will help them escape their heritage of tedious physical labor. Their struggles are humorous, true to life, and deeply affecting. Young adults will sympathize with the brothers as they come to terms with what is possible for each of them in an imperfect world.
    
Includes a reader's guide.


Book cover of Nanjung Ilgi; War Diary of Admiral Yi Sun-sin

Deb Atwood Author Of Moonlight Dancer

From my list on to understand traditional Korean culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

My kids tease me that I’m the family member (Nordic-European ancestry all the way) who first became fascinated with Korean culture despite their dad having been born in Busan. (Like me, my husband was raised on bologna and French’s mustard sandwiches, not bibimbap and kimchi). My research journey led me to travel to Korea multiple times. There, I discovered the remote island of Jindo, famous for delectable seaweed, the Jindo dog, a decisive battle in which Admiral Yi Sun-shin outwitted the Japanese, as well as a mysterious land bridge that parts the sea every year. I photographed the magnificent sunset overlooking Jindo and pictured my characters there. 

Deb's book list on to understand traditional Korean culture

Deb Atwood Why did Deb love this book?

If you want to learn about a time or a culture, I think an excellent way to start is to consult a primary source. Since I was setting my novel in the 16th century during the Japanese invasion of Korea, I wanted to learn as much as I could firsthand. This diary, written by Korea’s most famous admiral, is rich with cultural information and personal anecdotes. Admiral Yi Sun-Shin is a legendary war hero—brilliant, brave, and scrappy—whom Koreans compare to Admiral Nelson of the British Royal Navy. As I wrote my novel, I was inspired by the words of a man who accomplished greatness despite political intrigue and palace traitors, and who defeated a Japanese fleet that outnumbered his forces by 333 ships to 13. 

By Pow-key Sohn, Tae-Hung Ha (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nanjung Ilgi; War Diary of Admiral Yi Sun-sin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is the English version of the Nanjung Ilgi, which recorded in detail the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592 from May of the year when the war started to the day before the official died in the battle of Noryang.


Book cover of Art of the Korean Renaissance, 1400-1600

Deb Atwood Author Of Moonlight Dancer

From my list on to understand traditional Korean culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

My kids tease me that I’m the family member (Nordic-European ancestry all the way) who first became fascinated with Korean culture despite their dad having been born in Busan. (Like me, my husband was raised on bologna and French’s mustard sandwiches, not bibimbap and kimchi). My research journey led me to travel to Korea multiple times. There, I discovered the remote island of Jindo, famous for delectable seaweed, the Jindo dog, a decisive battle in which Admiral Yi Sun-shin outwitted the Japanese, as well as a mysterious land bridge that parts the sea every year. I photographed the magnificent sunset overlooking Jindo and pictured my characters there. 

Deb's book list on to understand traditional Korean culture

Deb Atwood Why did Deb love this book?

An easy and enjoyable way for me to learn about a culture is through its art. I spent hours meandering through museums and cultural sites in South Korea. What’s cool about this book is that you can do all that from the comfort of your favorite chair. This book is specific to a period of two hundred years—1400 to 1600, which happen to be the years I’m interested in. So often the Joseon era cultural books focus on the 18th century, so I was happy to find a book for the earlier years of the dynasty.  

By Soyoung Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Art of the Korean Renaissance, 1400-1600 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This notable catalogue-the first English-language publication on the subject-highlights the art of the early period (1392-1592) of Korea's revolutionary Joseon dynasty. The Joseon rulers replaced the Buddhist establishment and re-created a Korean society informed on every level by Neo-Confucian ideals. They supported the production of innovative secular art inspired by past traditions, both native and from the broader Confucian world. Yet despite official policies, court-sponsored Buddhist art endured, contributing to the rich complexity of the early Joseon culture.

The exquisite paintings, porcelain and other ceramics, metalware, and lacquerware featured in the book are drawn from the holdings of major Korean…


Book cover of Early Korean Literature: Selections and Introductions

Deb Atwood Author Of Moonlight Dancer

From my list on to understand traditional Korean culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

My kids tease me that I’m the family member (Nordic-European ancestry all the way) who first became fascinated with Korean culture despite their dad having been born in Busan. (Like me, my husband was raised on bologna and French’s mustard sandwiches, not bibimbap and kimchi). My research journey led me to travel to Korea multiple times. There, I discovered the remote island of Jindo, famous for delectable seaweed, the Jindo dog, a decisive battle in which Admiral Yi Sun-shin outwitted the Japanese, as well as a mysterious land bridge that parts the sea every year. I photographed the magnificent sunset overlooking Jindo and pictured my characters there. 

Deb's book list on to understand traditional Korean culture

Deb Atwood Why did Deb love this book?

Just as art offers invaluable insight into traditional culture, so does writing. Maybe I’m biased, but I think literature provides a more exact view than any other art form. I enjoy indulging myself in the mythology and poetry of this book, especially the poetry of the Joseon era. Early Korean Literature introduced me to the traditional poetic form called Sijo, which is both beautifully simple and incredibly complex. Some of my favorite examples of sijo McCann includes are from the famous kisaeng courtier Hwang Jin Yi. Her soulful poems so inspired me that I tried my hand at writing my own sijo—so much harder than it looks!—and included one in my novel. 

By David McCann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Early Korean Literature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Preeminent scholar and translator David R. McCann presents an anthology of his own translations of works ranging across the major genres and authors of Korean writing-stories, legends, poems, historical vignettes, and other works-and a set of critical essays on major themes. A brief history of traditional Korean literature orients the reader to the historical context of the writings, thus bringing into focus this rich literary tradition. The anthology of translations begins with the Samguk sagi, or History of the Three Kingdoms, written in 1145, and ends with "The Story of Master Ho," written in the late 1700s. Three exploratory essays…


Book cover of Shamans, Housewives, and Other Restless Spirits: Women in Korean Ritual Life

Deb Atwood Author Of Moonlight Dancer

From my list on to understand traditional Korean culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

My kids tease me that I’m the family member (Nordic-European ancestry all the way) who first became fascinated with Korean culture despite their dad having been born in Busan. (Like me, my husband was raised on bologna and French’s mustard sandwiches, not bibimbap and kimchi). My research journey led me to travel to Korea multiple times. There, I discovered the remote island of Jindo, famous for delectable seaweed, the Jindo dog, a decisive battle in which Admiral Yi Sun-shin outwitted the Japanese, as well as a mysterious land bridge that parts the sea every year. I photographed the magnificent sunset overlooking Jindo and pictured my characters there. 

Deb's book list on to understand traditional Korean culture

Deb Atwood Why did Deb love this book?

Because I have a mudang (Korean shaman) in my novel, I wanted to research everything I could about the shamanic tradition. Among the many sources I read, this one stands out as both informative and approachable. Shamanism in Korea is an ancient religious form, yet the custom is still honored in modern Korea, and people consult mudangs for business or personal advice even today. Laurel Kendall, a cultural anthropologist, takes readers on a journey into the lives of these remarkable women as they consult with ghosts, dispatch malign spirits, and offer advice and comfort to families. I am a believer in the power of women, especially women who navigate a patriarchal society,    

By Laurel Kendall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shamans, Housewives, and Other Restless Spirits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This exceptionally well-written book is good reading, not only for specialists but also for beginning students interested in women, Korean culture, and shamanism.


Book cover of Immovable Object: North Korea's 70 Years at War with American Power

Stephen Gowans Author Of Patriots, Traitors and Empires: The Story of Korea's Struggle for Freedom

From my list on to understand the DPRK.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in North Korea in 2002 when the George W. Bush administration declared the country to be part of an Axis of Evil, along with Iraq and Iran. Bush had lied about Iraq, to justify a war against that country, and I wondered what evidence, if any, his administration had that North Korea was either evil or part of an axis. The answer was none. Bush was able to propagate one North Korean myth after another because the public knew very little about the country. I wished to give people some background so they could make sense of what they were reading and hearing about North Korea in the news and social media.

Stephen's book list on to understand the DPRK

Stephen Gowans Why did Stephen love this book?

I love A.B. Abrams as a writer because he can look at a subject and see what others have failed to see. I read his book only after completing my own, and I’m sorry I missed it. Immovable Object tells a fascinating story, recounted in few other places, of how North Korea has not only helped other peoples fight for national liberation but has achieved what no other post-colonial country has ever accomplished: the ability to stay the hand of an aggressive US empire by developing a credible retaliatory nuclear threat.

By A.B. Abrams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Immovable Object as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

North Korea and the United States have been officially at war for over 70 years, one of the longest lasting and most unbalanced conflicts in world history, in which a small East Asian state has held its own against a Western superpower for over three generations. With the Western world increasingly pivoting its attention towards Northeast Asia, and the region likely to play a more central role in the global economy, North Korea's importance as a strategically located country, potential economic powerhouse and major opponent of Western regional hegemony will only grow over the coming decades. This work is the…


Book cover of The Silence of Bones

Yi Shun Lai Author Of A Suffragist's Guide to the Antarctic

From my list on women and girls who rocked the boat.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing about women and girls who rock the boat for two decades. I’ve written about it from my own point of view, in award-winning essays, and from imagined points of view, in almost-award-winning women’s contemporary novels. Now, I’ve tackled it in the YA genre. I want to keep on exploring what it means to buck the system and live to tell the tale. We’re still making up for men writing women’s voices, for women’s voices going unheard. I’m trying to do my part to ask, what if we heard about history from the women’s point of view? 

Yi's book list on women and girls who rocked the boat

Yi Shun Lai Why did Yi love this book?

I didn’t even know that indentured servitude to the police could be a thing for young women. Sure, sure, we’re talking about another place, another era—1800s Korea—but the immediacy with which Hur tells this story puts it right there for me. 

She weaves exacting detail and information throughout this gripping mystery: If the premise didn’t already hook me, I’d be pulled in by the way this mystery rapidly turns personal for Seol, our heroine. 

By June Hur,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Silence of Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak;
Ears, but I mustn't hear;
Eyes, but I mustn't see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: "May you live in interesting times." Indentured to the police bureau, she's been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically-charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman's secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable…


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