A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

Set in 12th century Korea, A Single Shard tells the story of 10-year old Tree-Ear, an orphan who survives on whatever food he can find in the discarded rubbish of others. His village is known for its beautiful pottery and Tree-Ear greatly admires the master potters from a distance. Then, one day he accidentally breaks a valuable piece of pottery made by Min, the village's most talented potter. To pay for the damaged piece, Tree-Ear works for Min for free for nine days, then stays on as his helper after that, eager to learn more about pottery.  When he is asked to go on a journey to show his master's pottery to the king's emissary, he sees the trip as his opportunity to prove himself to the great master. En route, he faces hardship and danger, but also finds  inner strength and courage.

***Winner of the 2002 Newbery Medal!***

This is a moving tribute to perseverance and creativity, selflessness and devotion. Park's characters come to live through her skillful writing and readers will find themselves drawn into their world and the drama of their existence. In their review, Kirkus called this book "a timeless jewel."  Agree!


A Single Shard
Reading Level

Interest Level: Grade 5 - 8
DRA Level:  50
Lexile Measure:  920L
Grade Level Equivalent: 6.8
Guided Reading Level:  U

Note: The intended audience for this book is grades 5-8.  Most children in this range should be able to read this book on their own, with the exception of some fifth graders, who (on average) do not read on this reading level until the middle of fifth grade.  If you are giving this book to fifth graders to read, plan to provide extra support for individual reading OR read this one as a read-aloud.


Available Book Covers

There are several different cover options for this book. That yellow one is pretty dated, but the others look great! :)


A Single Shard
Novel Studies / Activity Ideas

There are quiet a number of novel studies/activity packets available for A Single Shard on the popular teacher website teacherspayteachers.com.  We haven't personally used them with our classes (since we teach the younger grades), but they all seem to have a lot of positive reviews. (If you aren't familiar with the website Teachers Pay Teachers, you should check it out!!! It's full of lesson plans, activities, learning games, and other curriculum materials made by teachers. We LOVE the site!!).

To see these A Single Shard novel studies / activity ideas, click the link or the pictures below.


Where to now?

Now that you've seen this great book, what would you like to see now?  Please note that as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.



This book was a Newbery Honoree. Click to see all Newbery Award Winners.