A Single Shard Book Review and Free Student Work Pages
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park is book for ages 9 and up set in medieval Korea. This post is part of a summer read around the world blog hop by Multicultural Kids at MKB Read Around the World Summer Reading Series.
The picture at the left is of the “Thousands Cranes Vase” which is on display at the Kansong Museum of Art in South Korea. The potter/artist of the vase pictured is actually unknown. Such pottery helped inspire the writing of this book, which takes place in the historical time period of medieval Korea. The protagonist, Tree-ear, is a 13 year old orphan. Crane-man is his parent figure who lives with him under a bridge. The story reveals how they both came to live there. Tree-ear wants to become a master potter, but cannot as only sons of potters are allowed to learn. He watches master potter Min at work from afar only to be caught. Later a vase for a royal commission in Tree-ear’s care is shattered by bandits; a single shard is the only remaining piece. Will it be enough to convince the Royal Emissary of Min’s artistic brilliance?
Spoiler: Tree-ear does have the opportunity to learn to throw the delicate Celadon ceramics himself by the very end of the story. I am providing the spoiler as it makes this book appropriate for ages 9 and up as it has a happy ending.
For the purposes of the Read Around the World Summer Series, I am sharing a free printable PDF with student work pages and teacher answer keys for use in the classroom. Just click on the link below for your free instant download.
The free printable includes two coloring pages for children. We also tried our hand at vase painting using children’s paint and a glass vase. It was more difficult than we thought at first, but it was an enjoyable activity.
Thank you for reading, Carolyn
I-Reid has something to say about a Single Shard, as well!
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park is set in the Koryo era of Korean history, from which modern Korea derives its name. This blog post offers some explanation of the cultural and geographical setting of the story. Koryo is often spelled as Goryeo due to the Portuguese romanization of the Korean alphabet although the Koryo spelling is more indicative of the actual pronunciation in English.