Synopses & Reviews
Tree-ear, an 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.
This powerful and riveting tale of one close-knit, proud Korean family movingly addresses life-and-death issues of courage and collaboration, injustice, and death-defying determination in the face of totalitarian oppression. —Kirkus Reviews with Pointers
A brother and sister alternate as narrators in Newbery Medalist Park's (A Single Shard) well-contructed novel, which takes place from 1940-1945 in Japanese-occupied Korea. . . .Through the use of shifting narrators, Park subtly points up the differences between male and female roles in Korean society; and the father's process of choosing the family's Japanese name speaks volumes about his strength and intelligence. . . . Readers will come away with an appreciation of this period of history and likely a greater interest in learning more about it. —Publishers Weekly, Starred
Park is a masterful prose stylist, and her characters are developed beautifully. She excels at making traditional Korean culture accessible to Western readers. —VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
The drama is in the facts about the war, and Park does a fine job of showing how the politics of the occupation and resistance affect ordinary people. —Booklist, ALA
What is outstanding is the insight Park gives into the complex minds of these young people. Each of them reacts to the events in different ways—Sun-hee takes refuge in writing while Tae-yul throws his energies into physical work. . . . This beautifully crafted and moving novel joins a small but growing body of literature[.] —School Library Journal, Starred
"Vivid…historical details heighten realism. The final scene shines with hope….a beautifully crafted story that delights as it informs." —Riverbank Review
"Although the jacket image shoes a girl at a baseball stadium, Newbery Medalist Park's (A Single Shard) Korean War-era novel is best approached not as a sports story but as a powerful attempt to grapple with loss. Margaret Olivia Fontini, named after Joe DiMaggio ("Maggie-o, get it?"), loves Brooklyn's beloved but doomed Dodgers with a passion. When a new fireman arrives at her father's station wearing his allegiance to the arch-enemy Giants on his sleeve, Maggie keeps her distance until he teachers her how to score the game, a practice Maggie embraces with gusto, believing that recording every pitch and play might actually help Dem Bums finally win. And when Jim is drafted and sent to Korea, he and Maggie write, until Jim's letters abruptly stop. Park evokes the characters and settings with her customary skill and talent for detail; she shows unusual sensitivity in writing about war and the atrocity that, Maggie learns, has traumatized Jim into silence. Readers will be moved by Maggie's hard earned revelation, that every instance of keeping score "had been a chance to hope for something good to happen," and that "hope always comes first."--Publishers Weekly
, starred review
"In 1950s Brooklyn, everyone is baseball mad. Maggie says daily prayers and follows careful rituals to "help" the Dodgers. She listens intently to games on the radio, often with her friends at the firehouse. With firefighter Jim's help, even if he is a Giants fan, she learns to score the games meticulously. Jim is drafted and sent to Korea, where his experiences lead to a severe breakdown. Maggie writes to Jim faithfully, scores Giants games for him and says heartfelt prayers for his recovery. But her efforts meet with little success. She is disillusioned and heartbroken by the war, by Jim's inability to cope and by the constant disappointments provided by the Dodgers. But she never completely gives up, and there is a ray of hope for both Jim and the Dodgers as the 1955 season begins. Park's deeply layered plot is built as slowly and as meticulously as Maggie's scoring. As Maggie matures from age nine to 13, she never loses her compassion and openhearted nature. An author's note adds historical information. A winner at every level."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"In 1951, Maggie, nine, and her older brother, Joey-Mick, are dedicated baseball fans though their beloved Brooklyn Dodgers always disappoint them at season's end. Maggie enjoys listening to the games with the firefighters in her neighborhood station; her dad worked there before an injury forced him to accept a desk job. When a new firefighter, Jim, joins the crew, he teaches Maggie how to keep score and she comes to share his admiration for Giants' great Willie Mays. Then Jim is drafted and sent to Korea. They writer to one another until his letters abruptly stop. Maggie, frustrated and worried, tries to understand the conflict by researching it at her local library and even drawing her own maps tracing the war's progress on the Korean peninsula. Eventually, she learns that Jim suffered traumatic shock after a horrific battle and has been sent home with a medical discharge. Park paints a vividly detailed account of life in 1950s Brooklyn. Maggie's perspective is authentically childlike and engaging, and her relations with her family and friends ring true. Jim's tragic experience raises difficult, troubling questions for Maggie, but her grief eventually brings her to the conclusion that "hope is what gets everything started." Baseball fans will savor her first visit to Ebbets Fields, but this finely crafted novel should resonate with a wide audience of readers.."--School Library Journal
"Park, author of the Newbery-winning A Single Shard (2001), opens this thoroughly researched novel in Brooklyn with the 1951 baseball season half gone. Nine-year-old Maggie likes to hang out at the fire station, where she listens to the Dodger games with the firemen. The new guy, Jim, teaches Maggie how to score a game, and after Jim is drafted and sent to Korea, Maggie writes him letters. When she learns that he has been traumatized and sent home unresponsive and unable to function on his own, Maggie works on a plan to bring Jim back to himself and his own life. To her credit, Park doesn't make Maggie's goal seem easy or even realistic. The involving story spans several years with only a glimmer of hope for Jim's recovery. Still, readers will find plenty to root for as they get to know determined, persistent Maggie, who feels that the first words she ever learned must have been "Wait till next year."--Booklist
"There have been several books about the lost boys of Sudan for adults, teens, and even for elementary-school readers. But [this] spare, immediate account, based on a true story, adds a stirring contemporary dimension. . . . Young readers will be stunned by the triumphant climax."—Booklist, starred review
"[This] spare, hard-hitting novel delivers a memorable portrait of two children in Sudan. . . . Tragic and harrowing."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Two narratives intersect in a quiet conclusion that is filled with hope."—School Library Journal, starred review
"This powerful dual narrative packs suspense and introspection into Park's characteristic spare description; while there are lots of details offered to the reader, they come not in long, prosaic lines but in simple, detached observations. Both Salva's and Nya's stories are told with brutal, simple honesty, and they deliver remarkable perspective on the Sudanese conflict. The novel's brevity and factual basis makes the reality of life in Sudan very accessible, and readers will find both the story and the style extremely moving."—The Bulletin
"Park simply yet convincingly depicts the chaos of war and an unforgiving landscape. . . . A heartfelt account."—Kirkus Reviews
"Brilliant. . . . A touching narrative about strife and survival on a scale most American readers will never see."—BookPage
"Riveting."—The Horn Book "[A] fast, page-turning read. . . . A great book for high school students and an important novel for young adults who enjoy learning about other world cultures."—VOYA
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
null Children's Books: 100 Titles NYPL
null Booklist, Editor's Choice
"Readers . . . will find this emotionally charged reverie understandable and unforgettable." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
"With ease and grace, Park brings these long-ago children to life." --SLJ, Starred School Library Journal, Starred
A stirring novel of South Korea during WWII where a family must secretly protect their flag, their folktales, and their Korean culture from the watchful eye of the Japanese occupation, written Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park. Now a Sandpiper paperback!
Sun-hee and her older brother, Tae-yul, live in Korea with their parents. Because Korea is under Japanese occupation, the children study Japanese and speak it at school. Their own language, their flag, the folktales Uncle tells them—even their names—are all part of the Korean culture that is now forbidden. When World War II comes to Korea, Sun-hee is surprised that the Japanese expect their Korean subjects to fight on their side. But the greatest shock of all comes when Tae-yul enlists in the Japanese army in an attempt to protect Uncle, who is suspected of aiding the Korean resistance. Sun-hee stays behind, entrusted with the life-and-death secrets of a family at war.
In a riveting narrative set in fifteenth-century Korea, two brothers discover a shared passion for kites. Kee-sup can craft a kite unequaled in strength and beauty, but his younger brother, Young-sup, can fly a kite as if he controlled the wind itself. Their combined skills attract the notice of Korea's young king, who chooses Young-sup to fly the royal kite in the New Year kite-flying competition--an honor that is also an awesome responsibility. Although tradition decrees, and the boys' father insists, that the older brother represent the family, both brothers know that this time the family's honor is best left in Young-sup's hands. This touching and suspenseful story, filled with the authentic detail and flavor of traditional Korean kite fighting, brings a remarkable setting vividly to life. AUTHOR'S NOTE.
Both Maggie Fortini and her brother, Joey-Mick, were named for baseball great Joe DiMaggio. Unlike Joey-Mick, Maggie doesnt play baseballbut 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 disappointmentsbeing 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.
A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nyas in an astonishing and moving way.
When her father leaves to fight in World War II, Elizabeth goes with her mother and sister to her grandfather's house, where she learns to face up to the always puzzling and often cruel realities of the adult world.
There are things to be afraid of in the woods at the end of Autumn Street. But the year she goes to live in her grandfather's big house—while her father is fighting in World War II—Elizabeth can't put a name to those dark, shadowy fears. But she finds solace in her friendship with Charles, a boy who teaches her to take risks. Together the two children try to interpret an adult world that is always puzzling and often cruel. Together, on a day when snow obscures everything but terror, they leave that world behind and enter the world that is waiting in the woods. This lovely repackaged edition features a new introduction by the author.
About the Author
Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Readers Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Associations Childrens Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at www.loislowry.com