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 her debut novel, La Valley paints a memorable picture of this faraway people. . . . A haunting tale of artistic vision triumphing over adversity."
"For many readers, this book may be their first introduction to the Uyghur people, and La Valley strongly evokes the culture and struggles of an ethnic group whose future is less than certain."
"Engages and teaches."
"An absorbing read and an excellent choice for expanding global understanding."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"The carefully honed plot and palpable family tensions...will resonate with most youngsters."
Park (Seesaw Girl) molds a moving tribute to perseverance and creativity in this finely etched novel set in mid-to-late 12th century Korea. . . Readers will not soon forget these characters or their sacrifices. —Publishers Weekly, Starred
"Intrigues, danger and the same strong focus on doing what is right turn a simple story into a compelling read. . . Tree-ear's story conveys a time and place far away and long ago, but with a simplicity and immediacy that is both graceful and unpretentious. A timeless jewel." —Kirkus Reviews with Pointers
Like Park's Seesaw Girl and the Kite Fighters, this book not only gives readers insight an unfamilar time and place, but it is also a great story. —School Library Journal, Starred
This quiet, but involving story draws readers into a very different time and place. Though the society has its own conventions, the hearts and minds and stomachs of the characters are not so far removed from those of people today. Readers will feel the hunger and cold that Tree-ear experiences, as well as his shame, fear, gratitude, and love. A well-crafted novel with an unusual setting. —Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
Park's story is alive with fascinating information about life and art in ancient Korea. —Horn Book Guide
A broken piece of pottery sets events in motion as an orphan struggles to pay off his debt to a master potter. This finely crafted novel brings 12th-century Korea and these indelible characters to life. —SLJ Best Books of the Year
Children's Books: 100 Titles NYPL
Booklist, Editor's Choice
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.
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.
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.