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A Single Shard

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  38,265 ratings  ·  2,784 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 April 23rd 2001)
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SuZanne It is a great book, perhaps my favorite read of 2019. I know it's a YA book and it was published several years ago, but it is philosophical and not bo…moreIt is a great book, perhaps my favorite read of 2019. I know it's a YA book and it was published several years ago, but it is philosophical and not boring; it's simple yet deep. It's poetic but not preachy. I love this book so much. Perhaps I am biased towards enjoying it because I also enjoy ceramic art; however, even if you are not it's a great book. I wish I had known about it when my son was young so I could have read it to or with him.(less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  38,265 ratings  ·  2,784 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
A Single Shard, Linda Sue Park
A Single Shard is a novel published in 2001, awarded for excellence in children's literature, by Linda Sue Park, set in 12th-century Korea. Tree-ear is an orphan who lives under a bridge with Crane-man, a physically disabled man who took him in when Tree-ear was only a small child. Tree-ear is fascinated with the nearby potters in his village, especially Min, and often watches them work. One day Tree-ear goes into Min's yard and investigates the work that he was dry
Dec 04, 2008 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
Linda Sue Park won a Newbery Medal for this surprisingly gripping, moving piece set in twelfth-century Korea. It’s an unusual rite-of-passage story about a young boy Tree-ear, shunned because his orphan status means he’s considered bad luck, he lives outside, scavenging for food. But he’s happy because he has a single friend, the older Crane-man. Their village Ch’ulp'o’s a special place, famed for its craftspeople who produce eye-wateringly beautiful, shimmering pottery. Tree-ear’s fascinated by ...more
Feb 17, 2009 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
Angela Dawn
Apr 09, 2007 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
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really beautiful story about an orphan boy who wants to be a potter. It is a teaching story that would work well in a middle grade classroom. There are many lessons and teachable moments. I also enjoyed the fact that this novel is set in 12th century Korea, a time and place so far away and I feel like a learned a little bit about it.
Mar 29, 2012 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
Beautiful story... Beautiful book.
Tory C.
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As kids get on and off my bus I see the books they are carrying with them. The books I see most often have characters who can shoot electricity, characters who have Gods as parents, or characters who can swing a sword and command dragons. A Single Shard is not one of these books. In fact A Single Shard is the antithesis of these books.

Compared to the action books nothing happens in A Single Shard. The major characters include an orphan and an old, one-legged man who live under a bridge; and a su
I read the story not having a clue what to expect and would not have read it probably if I did not have a challenge that I was using it for. But it turned out for me to be such a beautiful, lyrical prose. The setting is the 12th century Korea and the main character is Three-ear. Such a fun name.

I have always enjoyed various cultures and I even taught multicultural literature to 12th graders. I believe it expands our horizons and I learn so much about other cultures instead of focusing on my own
Book Concierge
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
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
Sep 15, 2009 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
Luisa Knight

Children's Bad Words
Name Calling - 5 Incidents: stupid, pighead, fool, idiot, donkey

Religious & Supernatural - 2 Incidents: "Some people even believed the foxes possessed evil magic." Mentions a celebration of Buddha's birthday.

Violence - None

Romance Related - 1 Incident: "All of the King's concubines and ladies-in-waiting crowded around him..."

Attitudes/Disobedience - 7 Incidents: A character struggles with his conscience. Struggle with honesty: "Was it stealing, to wait as Tree-ear
May 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly D.
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, fiction
I hate to be so harsh on this book, but I was forced to read this in class which means to me that the teacher thought it was so good that we writers could learn from it. Personally, under that context, it horribly failed. The title, the summary, and story offered no entertainment or thought-provoking ideas. There is a lot of exposition and the story is quite simple both in plot and execution. I pretty much predicted everything that would happen and emotionally did not do anything for me. It was ...more
Jan 23, 2009 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
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think the main theme in this book is about how life is not always fair. Tree-ear, an orphan that lives under a bridge only had one goal. To be taught to make a pot. This is because he sees Min, a great potter that makes pots. One day when Tree-ear was spying on him, Min spotted him. They had a long conversation and they came to an agreement for Tree-ear to assist Min for a week. After a week, Tree-ear asked if he was allowed to keep working for him. He also asked to be taught to make a pot. Mi ...more
Julie Suzanne
Apr 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ms-library
It’s a beautiful story. I think that it would be a hard sell to my students. Much of the book describes at length the process of creating pots, which was really interesting to me, but I think it might be a little bit too slow for my Middle School students’ self-selected reading. It would appeal to a patient, thoughtful reader. Major literary merit, of course, and I can see why it won the Newbery Award.
Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku
A beautifully written, easy to read, highly educational historical fiction. I wasn't certain what I was getting into when I started reading this book, but I'm so glad I continued. I learned so much about 12th century Korea and celadon pottery making. Plus, I love that this whole story was inspired by the beautiful Thousand Crane vase. Definitely a deserving Newbery Winner. ...more
Amanda Hamilton
Jul 08, 2007 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
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
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just reread this wonderful story this past week, and cannot believe that I had forgotten to include it in my Goodreads list! Not only that, but it should have been in my “absolute favorites” shelf (but it is now!)!
I not only loved this story, but I learned a lot as well! This tale is about a young orphan named Tree-ear, who lives in 12th century Korea. He hides out in the bushes and watches one of the local potters working at his wheel, and longs to learn his craft. Until I read this story, I
Mar 16, 2009 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! ...more
Jan 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this when I listened to it in 2007 and I loved it just as much listening again this year with my girls. Full review here: ...more
Melody Schwarting
An enjoyable look at 12th century Korea through the eyes of a volunteer pottery apprentice. I really enjoy books about any type of artisanship, so learning about celadon pottery was my favorite part of A Single Shard. Some of the adult characters seemed a bit opaque to me. The main character, Tree-ear, could have benefited from a friend his own age to flesh out his character a bit more. The story highlights bravery and fortitude in learning a highly skilled trade, which was encouraging to me eve ...more
Aj Sterkel
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-grade
A Single Shard is set in Korea during the twelfth century. The main character, Tree-ear, is an orphan boy who lives under a bridge and dreams of becoming a potter. One day, he accidentally wrangles his way into becoming an assistant to Min, one of Korea’s most well-respected potters. Min is too old to carry pots over the mountains and deliver them to the royal family, so Tree-ear takes on the task. (Of course) things go horribly wrong.

The plot is straightforward and easy to follow in audiobook
Linda Hart
Jun 28, 2009 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
Shane Henderson
Jan 10, 2017 rated it liked it
The book a single shard written by Linda sue park was inspirational and good view but i frowned upon the way this message was delivered and in what setting i did not like it. the books overall plot could have been more developed in a more up to time situation. As i said this book was good central idea just the time period and the way it was portrayed was horrible.
this book had a central idea and that iss to hold your hut head high through thick and thon and help the unfortunate even though you
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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.


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