Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

It took a couple chapters for me to get hooked on this story. I’m glad I stayed the course; it turned out to be a beautifully-told tale.

This is an historical novel set in Korea: 1200’s. Tree-ear is a homeless boy, survigin with the help of Crane-man, also homeless. Crane-man lives under a bridge and has already learned to scavenge food when he befriends Tree-ear, who ends up caring for him. Their bond is like family.

Tree-ear has a deep interest in pottery-making. He eventually becomes apprenticed to a pottery-maker. This man is taciturn, uninterested in training Tree-ear, and angrily grieving the death of his son. Tree-ear manages to earn his way, care for Crane-man, help earn a royal commission for his master to make pottery for the royal court, and win the respect of the potter so that he might trained to become a potter one day himself.

In this book, you will learn much about the art of ancient pottery-making and catch a glimpse of the culture of Korea, mid-1200’s, while enjoying a well-woven story with a satisfying end.

When I went on Amazon to buy it, many adults liked it. One commenter pointed out that while adults liked it, why would it receive a Newbery-award since it wasn't a particularly gripping novel for tweens? Instead of repeating myself, I'll just cut and paste my response to the secular crowd:

This is an accurate review, and the same thought crossed my mind about whether children would like it as much as I (an adult) did. Maybe, though, the Newbery is an award intended to reward quality literature that should be promoted, not just what will titillate, excite, or merely entertain. In this case, the book fits the bill, and I, as a parent, am looking for more books like it. My child is not the best judge of the good, beautiful and true. But books like this one will give her/him a boost in judging quality when experience and time kick in.

Safety Rating: 3 Vatican Flags

Historical Fiction: 12th Century; Korea


elm May 13, 2009 at 8:02 PM  

Sounds like one maybe I would enjoy!! And perhaps use at some point for world history for my homeschoolers!!! Thanks for your great candid opinions on literature for "tweens"!!

Regina May 21, 2009 at 11:04 PM  

great reply to that other commenter!

Anonymous,  August 30, 2009 at 1:54 PM  

i did not really like the book but i thought it gave a good message.

Hannah,  August 30, 2009 at 1:55 PM  

i did not really like the book but i thought it had a good message.

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