Newbery Book Review

A Single Shard

039597827001lzzzzzzz1 When I checked this one out from the library I honestly was not looking forward to it. The cover and title did nothing to draw me in. But I suppose that’s why the idiom “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” exists because I ended up loving it. The story is about a young orphan boy who lives underneath a bridge with his old caretaker, Tree-Ear. The boy’s main focus in life is to find food for himself and Tree-Ear but he is fascinated by the art of pottery. He eventually convinces one of the best craftsmen in the village of Ch’ulp’o to apprentice him and from there he goes on a journey that is fraught with difficulty but results in something more priceless than he was counting on. Like quite a few of the books on the Newbery list it is a quick read, but despite its length I felt myself very emotionally connected to the characters and sad to see it end. There seems to be a trend with the Newbery list though in picking books that put the reader into a different time period and culture altogether. It seems beneficial for a child to experience through the written word a world that is entirely different from there own, but I also see a need for books that hit a little closer to home. The beauty of this particular choice, and others like it, is that you realize that despite the different geographic location, customs or culture the basic tenets of being human still exist, that is: to feel fear, experience deep joy, face failure and success, deep sadness over losing someone you love. In the end we’re all the same.
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