Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park


Book Summary

Set in twelfth century Korea, A Single Shard is the story of incredible perseverance.  Tree-ear, an impoverished orphan, becomes the apprentice to an eminent potter in his village.  While he is fascinated by the artistry and expertise of his mentor, his training also includes a growing appreciation of family, honor, and effort.
A Single Shard book cover
A Single Shard

Book Review

This is an eye-opening book for many modern readers, who will be amazed at the level of  hard work and diligence required for Tree-ear and his companions to survive. Social expectations are beautifully conveyed, and the understated emotions make an interesting counterpoint to bold pop culture prevalent in today's media. The vocabulary is challenging, but the multi-layered themes are valuable enough to make this book worth the effort. 

It may be better suited for read-aloud or small group study and discussion than for independent reading for upper elementary students. This book provides an excellent opportunity to collaborate with art instructors to give students a chance to shape and decorate their own pottery, and/or to learn more about the history of Korean art.

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Artistry - Pottery
  • Poverty vs. Wealth; Class Issues
  • Life in 12th Century Korea
  • Self-Sufficiency; Survival
  • Family Relationships
  • Hard Work and Dedication

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions Coming Soon**

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