A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park is a Newbery Award winner about an orphan and a cripple set in 12th-century Korea. I found it while browsing the Newbery Honor books shelf at the local library and thought it would be great for my students (who are primarily Korean American). I especially liked the descriptions of pottery-making in the book (I used to dig up clay from the garden), and I also enjoyed reading about an Asian main character.
I had chosen this book to read with my rising 5th graders last summer, but since I was on vacation the first half of the summer, I didn’t actually get to read it with them. I did read it with my 6th grade private tutor student, and he really enjoyed the story, but the work was probably a little too easy for him. Both the boys and girls in the 5th grade class said they enjoyed the book, though. I recommended Park’s Project Mulberry to read on their own, and I know a few of them did end up reading it.
This book is great for boys and girls from about 4th to 6th grades, but boys may be able to relate to the main character better. Contains themes of family and courage, also has bullying and character death. Park’s other book mentioned in this post, Project Mulberry, may be better for girls, since the main character in that book is a girl (although her best friend is a boy).
This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter A.