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A Single Shardby Linda Sue Park
Synopses & Reviews
"A haunting tale of artistic vision triumphing over adversity." —KirkusReviews
Things aren’t looking good for fourteen-year-old Mehrigul. She yearns to be in school, but she’s needed on the family farm. The longer she’s out of school, the more likely it is that she’ll be sent off to a Chinese factory . . . perhaps never to return. Her only hope is an American who buys one of her decorative baskets for a staggering sum and says she will return in three weeks for more. Mehrigul must brave storms, torn-up hands from working the fields, and her father’s scorn to get the baskets done. The stakes are high, and time is passing . . . will Mehrigul's hard work be enough?
In this Newbery Medal-winning book set in 12th century Korea, Tree-ear, a 13-year-old orphan, lives under a bridge in Chulpo, a potters' village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potters 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 backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Mins irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself — even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Mins work in the hope of a royal commission . . . even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.
Jade never ventures beyond the walls of her family's Inner Court; in seventeenth-century Korea, a girl of good family does not leave home until she marries. She is enthralled by her older brother's stories about trips to the market and to the ancestral grave sites in the mountains, about reading and painting, about his conversations with their father about business and politics and adventures only boys can have. Jade accepts her destiny, and yet she is endlessly curious about what lies beyond the walls. A lively story with a vividly realized historical setting, "Seesaw Girl" recounts Jade Blossom's daring attempts to enlarge her world.
Both Maggie Fortini and her brother, Joey-Mick, were named for baseball great Joe DiMaggio. Unlike Joey-Mick, Maggie doesnt play baseball—but at almost ten years old, she is a dyed-in-the-wool fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Maggie can recite all the players statistics and understands the subtleties of the game. Unfortunately, Jim Maine is a Giants fan, but its Jim who teaches Maggie the fine art of scoring a baseball game. Not only can she revisit every play of every inning, but by keeping score she feels shes more than just a fan: shes helping her team.
Jim is drafted into the army and sent to Korea, and although Maggie writes to him often, his silence is just one of a string of disappointments—being a Brooklyn Dodgers fan in the early 1950s meant season after season of near misses and year after year of dashed hopes. But Maggie goes on trying to help the Dodgers, and when she finds out that Jim needs help, too, shes determined to provide it. Against a background of major league baseball and the Korean War on the home front, Maggie looks for, and finds, a way to make a difference.
Even those readers who think they dont care about baseball will be drawn into the world of the true and ardent fan. Linda Sue Parks captivating story will, of course, delight those who are already keeping score.
Mehrigul, 14, is a Uyghur, a tribal group scorned by the Chinese communist regime. Facing obstacles that include her embittered father and her obligations to their farm, she has three weeks to make the baskets that will help her family and offer some hope for the future.
A Single Shard
Tree-ear is fascinated by the celedon ware created in the village of Chulpo. He is determined to prove himself to the master potter, Min—even if it means making a solitary journey to present Mins work in the hope of a royal commission . . . or arriving at the royal court with nothing but a single celadon shard.
About the Author
Linda Sue Park is the author of the Newbery Medal book A Single Shard, many other novels, several picture books, and most recently a book of poetry: Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems). She lives in Rochester, New York, with her family, and is now a devoted fan of the New York Mets. For more infromation visit www.lspark.com.
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