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A Single Shard
Linda Sue Park
Newbery Medal- 2002




12th Century, pottery, Korea, orphan child


Set in 12th century Korea, this is the story of Tree-ear who lives under a bridge with his disabled older friend Crane-man. Tree-ear becomes fascinated with the potter's craft and longs to create celadon ceramics. However pottery is a trade passed on from father to son and Tree-ear is an orphan. He works long and hard hoping to become an apprentice.

Classroom Connections:

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Author and Book Connections
Author Connections. Other books by Linda Sue Park are Seesaw Girl, The Kite Fighters, & When My Name was Keoko.
Book Connections
Book Reviews. Read and critique the following book reviews. Do you agree of disagree with the review?
Quiz. After reading the book, take this multiple-choice quiz.
After Reading Book. Learn more about the book.
Other Books with Asian or Korean Characters. Read related books.
Discussion Ideas
  • Compare the apprentice system to the formal education system.
  • Discuss the ethical issues in the book including stealing, honor, and honesty. Look for examples in your own life.
  • Make a list of of Tree-ear sayings and discuss his conclusions.
  • Compare homelessness today with Tree-ear's time.
  • Invite a local pottery to present to the class or email a potter.
  • Try creating your own pot.
  • Draw a picture of Tree-ear's home under the bridge.
  • Use an atlas to trace Tree-ear's trip. How fast can you walk? How long would it take you to walk? What other methods of transportation could you use? How much would they cost?
Cool Classroom Connections
Making Pottery. Explore different types of pottery. What are the steps in making pottery? Use a digital camera to create your own step-by-step process.
Pottery Examples. Have you ever seen pottery in the shape of a melon? Check out an example below. Explore other examples from the time of Tree-ear.
Roof Tiles. Explore tile that may have been simliar to the tiles the villagers long ago made for the roof of the Grand Palace in Songdo. Compare this tile to today's tite. How much would it cost to tile your house today?
Korean Art. Korea is known for many types of artwork, including pottery. Explore a replica of the Thousand Crane Vase in the story.
Korean History. Learn more about Ancient Korean History. Create a timeline and compare Korea to another part of the world during the same time period. Do this in a word processor or try Tom Snyder's Timeliner software.
Travel to Korea. Explore the many places you could visit in Korea. Plan a trip.
Present and Past Korea. Explore information about life in present day South Korea. Compare life today with Tree-ear's time.
Korean Stories. Read Korea folk and fairy tales. Compare these tales to your cultural stories.
Korean Map. Compare the historical map with the current map of the country. How has it changed? Trace Tree ear's journey. 
Words to Learn
potter's wheel
throwing a pot
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Created by Annette Lamb & Nancy Smith, 3/02. Updated 9/02.
All Rights Reserved. This website is intended for teachers and their students who may copy and use the materials for classroom use. Duplication of site materials for redistribution or commerical use is prohibited without permission. For a complete set of materials, contact Vision to Action for information about the book Newberys and the Net: Thematic Technology Connections by Annette Lamb and Nancy Smith (Available Dec 1999).