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A Single Shard

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,717 Ratings  ·  1,828 Reviews
Tree-ear, an orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch’ulp’o, a potters’ village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potter’s craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated–until he finds obstacles in his path: the ba ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 11th 2003 by Yearling (first published January 1st 2001)
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The Giver by Lois LowryHoles by Louis SacharA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Most Deserving Newbery
30th out of 99 books — 2,489 voters
The Giver by Lois LowryA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleHoles by Louis SacharNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Newbery Medal Winner Books
29th out of 95 books — 294 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 07, 2009 Ross rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book. It is far more accessible than I had imagined knowing only that it was set in twelfth-century Korea and that the main character is called Tree-ear. But it could be thought of as a coming-of-age novel, as it tells a timeless story about taking a journey. The writing is lyrical in places, which brings the art and nature in this story alive. I feel like I can picture the Thousand Cranes Vase without ever having seen it.

The plot is compelling, too. The basic outlines of the j
Just finished with kids today (2.11.13). Made me cry all over again, it is so beautiful. We then looked up the Thousand Cranes Vase and it is astonishing! Reading the book made the artistry of the vase really come alive. Kids loved it.


Contender for 12/13 read aloud. I think this one's a winner.

You know, there's so much garbage in the world. So many, many bad books. And then you might pick up a jewel like this one. Not to mention that orphan books are abundantly plentiful these days for some
Angela Dawn
Apr 09, 2007 Angela Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Set in 12th century Korea, this book offers a glimpse into an ancient and ritualized society through the memorable and touching story of a young orphan boy and his foster father, an elderly hermit.
Detailed and charming, the story is effective on several levels.
Although certainly simple enough for the young readers who are it's intended audience, it has a universal message speaking to the innate desire in every person for a sense of belonging.
All ages will also find a fascinating and remarkably r
Feb 17, 2009 Manzoid rated it it was ok
I don't understand how this won a Newbery award. The plot and characterization were mechanical and simplistic. You could see the ending a mile away -- sure, it's a kid's book, but I haven't found clunky obviousness to be the norm with high-quality children's fiction. It felt like the kind of multi-culti book that committees like because they think it will be Good for You, as opposed to it simply being good.

I think the prize committee might've been suckered in by the simple prose style. Pointedl
mai ahmd
Jan 09, 2012 mai ahmd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: روايات
, جاءت فكرة النص للكاتبة وهي تبحث عن تاريخ كوريا القديمة فلفتت نظرها بعض العبارات عن الفخار الكوري والذي ينظر له في تلك الحقبة على إنه من أروع الأعمال في العالم .
على الرغم من قلة عدد صفحات هذه الرواية الشيقة حيث أنها تحوي 147 صفحة فقط
إلا أنها استغرقت أربعة أعوام لإنجازها منذ انبثاق فكرة الرواية وحتى كتابتها مرورا بتنقيحها
تدور الرواية حول طفل يتيم يعيش تحت جسر مع رجل مشلول تستهويه صنعة الفخار يقف مفتونا أمام أعمال أحد معلمي صانعي الفخار ويحاول أن يصل إلى السر الذي يجعل أعمال مين تتميز بالدقة ال
Nguyễn Hoàng Vũ
1. Lời giới thiệu gần như là tóm tắt tác phẩm. Đọc xong hết muốn đọc sách.
2. Nhưng mà vẫn phải đọc. Vì đây là sách thiếu nhi.
3. Tác giả viết rất có nghề. Đọc phần chú thích của tác giả ở cuối truyện thấy tác giả tìm tư liệu rất công phu. Nói chung là đáng nể.
Mar 30, 2012 Pandora rated it it was amazing
Got a chance to read this book again. It went from four star to five stars. I had forgotten how speical this book was.

Summary: This is tough story to summarizes because I don't want to give the plot away. Bascially it is the story of an orphan boy Tree-ear and his dream of making pottery.

Review: The book is one of those warm fuzzy books that makes you feel life is beautiful. Similar in affect to Baby Be-Bop, Groover's Heart, and Shiloh. The story takes place in ancient Korean and is filled with
Dec 06, 2009 Huda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Huda by: me
جميلة هذه القصة

هذه هي المرة الأولى التي أقرأ فيها قصة تدور أحداثها في كوريا
كانت صناعة الأواني الفخارية شرفا عائليا
يتوارثه الأبناء عن آبائهم عن أجدادهم
إلا أن "ترى-اير" كان طفلا يتيما
يتجسس خفية على العجوز مين صانع الفخار
إلى أن أصبحت صناعة الفخار هاجسا
حلما يطارده
وأنى له أن يوقفه

أحداث بسيطة غير معقدة تشبه في انسيابيتها ملمس
"زهرية الألف غرنوق"

وجدتها بالعربية في جرير
Jan 23, 2009 Rian rated it liked it
Shelves: asian-american
Summary: This novel tells the story of Tree Ear, a young orphan in 12th century Korea. Tree Ear goes to work for the master potter, Min, and he learns the craft of pottery making as he finds new family and a new place in his village.

Response: I have never read a book set in Korea, and I love historical fiction, so this was a wonderful historical fiction reading experience. I enjoyed all the details of life in 12th century Korea, and I thought the author did a good job of making all Tree Ear's ex
Set in 12th Century Korea, A Single Shard spins the tale of Tree-ear. His life, his emotions, his dream. Park's Newbery Award winning book tells the story of Tree-ear's desire to sit before a potter's wheel and one day hope to create a vase so beautiful and detailed that it is worthy of suceeding his master's unreachable level of skill. And so the story begins with Tree-ear bringing home a small sack of rice - a feast he hasn't had the honor in having in months.

Tree-ear is probably one of the m
Amanda Hamilton
Jul 08, 2007 Amanda Hamilton rated it really liked it
An unusual story and uncommon setting mixed with a strong protagonist makes A Single Shard a high-quality work of historical fiction written by Linda Sue Park. Set in Korea during the 12th century, a homeless boy’s life gains meaning as he works for a potter and eventually finds a calling and a family.

Tree-ear is a 12-year-old orphan who lives under a bridge in a seaside village with an elderly crippled man who cared for him as a child. Now that Tree-ear is growing up he longs for a purpose in l
Mar 16, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it
This was a good read, a wholesome read! It was clean, uplifting and enjoyable. I really liked the story, including some of the "wisdom of life" comments and discussions that occur between Craneman and Tree Ear. I also appreciated the extra information and notes that the author included at the end to explain more about celadon pottery. I would definitely recommend this book!
Aug 31, 2008 Lauren rated it did not like it
This book was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO boring. Mr. Brown read it aloud to us....we practically fell asleep! BORING! HORIIBLE! DO NOT READ!
(NS) Lauren
Sep 26, 2009 (NS) Lauren rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Grade Level: 4-6

This is a beautiful tale, set in 12-century Korea, about an orphan boy named Tree-ear, and his quest to learn the pottery trade. As Tree-ear scavenges for food in the rummage piles of his village, he becomes entranced by the work of an old potter named Min. When he dares to take a closer look at one of the pieces, he is startled by Min, and the intricate clay boxes shatter on the ground before him. Tree-ear begins to pay off his debt with back-breaking work for Min, in the hopes
Barb Middleton
Eyes tap-dance as Linda Sue Park explains the spur-of-the-moment decision to give her Newbery medal for A Single Shard to her dad at the ALA awards ceremony in 2002. The auditorium went from noisy to dead silent as I walked to the edge of the stage to hand Dad the medal. "I'm thinking to myself, why is it so quiet?" and wondered if the audience didn’t like the gesture so I joked at the podium, “Dad, you had better leave that to me in your will.” Later she found out it was quiet because people we ...more
Apr 30, 2008 Lucy rated it really liked it
This is a 2002 Newberry Medal Award Winner in Juvenile fiction. It is a story of a 10-year old, homeless orphan named Tree-ear in 12th century Korea. He lives under a bridge with another homeless man, Crane-man, who has taken care of him for years. They struggle to eat and stay warm but this 10-year old has a secret indulgence...he goes and watches a master potter work at his wheel. One day, he finds the potter gone but notices several of his pieces drying on a shelf. He goes in for a closer loo ...more
I need to go back and reread this. As I recall, I absolutely loved the book. However, I thought it would be a very hard book to booktalk unless the child already had an interest in pottery. But the story itself was absolutely gorgeous. Tree-Ear's solution to his problem was brilliant. His refusal to give up after what seemed like complete defeat was inspirational. I definitely need to reread this some day!
May 26, 2015 Griffin rated it really liked it
Tree-ear lives under a bridge with Crane-man whose taken care of Tree-ear his whole life. Tree-ear watches the potter Min every day min is at the wheel. One day Min isn't at the wheel, Tree-ear lifts a box off a pot and the pot got squished. When Min came back Tree-ear was punished and had to get wood and clay. Tree-ear wanted to work after the punishment. A Royal Emissary came to they're town. All the potters set up stands to show the Emissary. He chose Kang because of the red and white slip on ...more
Apr 05, 2015 Katelyn rated it really liked it
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park is an excellent book to introduce readers to the Korean culture. This book had a few new vocabulary words that invited me to explore the Korean culture. Words like "jeggeh", allowed me to understand the importance of rice during the 12th century. This story held my interest as it made me feel the shame, excitement and anger Tree-ear faced. The conflict Tree-ear encountered with the robbers made me feel so angry and I could understand the frustration Tree-ear may ...more
Apr 11, 2016 Misha rated it really liked it
An enjoyable juvenile read, emphasizing the power of determination, loyalty, integrity and perseverance.
Feb 21, 2015 Aijung rated it really liked it
A simple and beautiful coming of age tale about a young Korean orphan named Tree-ear who aches to learn the art of pottery from a cranky village master. I admired Tree-ear's dedication and gratitude in spite of his impoverished circumstances (definitely reminded me how fortunate I am!) I found the character of Crane-man and his bond with Tree-ear to be endearing. As an artist, I also enjoyed learning about the process of creating the pottery and the extraordinary skill required to create a maste ...more
So recently I was going through my list of favorite books, and I stumbled upon this, A Single Shard. A book that I've loved and cherished and enjoyed, a book that, despite winning the Newbery Medal, isn't super popular and isn't the next YA bestseller. A book which possessed a review written by me that was, let's say, absolutely atrocious. First of all, it was really short and immature. Second of all...actually, that's it.

But I guess this review will be no better, because let's face it, I don't
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 04, 2013 Ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery, historical, audio
Another book that I would never have read if it wasn't a Newbery winner, but one that I ended up really enjoying. The story is a quiet one, with only one small section that could be deemed tense. Yet I was engaged the entire time with Tree-ear's world and worries. In some ways the book reminded me of the Little House book or Golden Goblet in its precise attention to the details of everyday living and the skills of craftsmen. I've heard other people praise the book for its depiction of twelfth ce ...more
This 2002 Newberry Award winner is a lovely book detailing the work of a potter and the boy who longs to be his apprentice. Because of his friend Crane Man, Tree ear has developed a code of honor and a much more generous view of the world than we expect in one who is often hungry and has little opportunity.

Through Tree Ears daily toil we feel his hope, despair and joy as he learns to prepare clay for Min the potter. We experience his hope and despair as he learns the value of persistence, and t
Linda Hart
Sep 03, 2009 Linda Hart rated it it was amazing
. A moving story which takes places in Korea and it has unforgettable characters:
Tree-Ear, a young orphan with determination, selflessness and integrity;
Crane-man a sacrificing lame man who found him and has lovingly raised him with the philosophy that "stealing and begging....make a man no better than a dog." They live under a bridge in a potters' village and survive on rubbish and grains of rice which fall out of others' bags home being under a bridge;
Min, a sour, demanding cranky man who
Feb 03, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was ok
Intentionally multi-cultural young adult literature can turn into narrative molasses... which this little book does.

Good "multi-cultural" literature is about people-- as different as their culture and beliefs are from readers, we identify with them as people-- their worldview may be different from ours but -- forgive me-- universal human experiences make them important or relevant or frightening-- REAL-- to us.

Bad "multi-cultural" literature is like this: "ooh, the mysterious East! Aren't they
Sep 15, 2009 Janette rated it really liked it
My children have a theory about book awards. They think they're only given to books where characters important to the hero/heroine die. To them, that little gold circle is a warning lable.

They have a point.

Still, I liked this book a lot. (Although it makes me angry when books make me cry, so from now on I'm deducting a star for the death of any characters I like. Authors beware: if you kill off multiple characters I like, you may end up with a negative rating.)

Anyway, the main character was char
Ad-RyaN Williams
Dec 13, 2011 Ad-RyaN Williams rated it really liked it
A Single Shard is a great book about a 12 year old boy named Tree-ear that lives with a man named Crane-man who lives under the bridge.Tree-ear ended up here because he was taken by a mysterious man to a temple.He was being carried to this friendly monk who his mother and father knew,but their was a terrible disease going around causing many deaths.Then people started telling this mysterious man to take him to Crane-man under the bridge,so he did.When the disease passed,the monk attempted to com ...more
Jun 17, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
I read this Newberry Award winner months ago and forgot to write a review! Set in 12th century Korea, a 10 year old orphan is befriended by a homeless man. They struggle to stay warm and have food to eat, but manage to stay alive. Young Tree-ear accidentally breaks an expensive piece of pottery and must work for the potter to pay his debt. He hopes to become an apprentice to the potter and continues to work for the potter.

An example of 12th century Korean pottery:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Pretty amazing work considerin
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Linda Sue Park is a Korean American author of children's fiction. Park published her first novel, Seesaw Girl, in 1999. To date, she has written six children’s novels and five picture books for younger readers. Park’s work achieved prominence when she received the prestigious 2002 Newbery Medal for her novel A Single Shard.

More about Linda Sue Park...

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“Why was it that pride and foolishness were so often close companions?” 35 likes
“If a man is keeping an idea to himself, and that idea is taken by stealth or trickery-I say it is stealing. But once a man has revealed his idea to others, it is no longer his alone. It belongs to the world.” 14 likes
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