A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Even though I'm now on the other side of the country, I still try to keep up with the books my long-time book club is reading. This book is one of two books we read in January. It's one I probably wouldn't have picked up on my own, but I'm very glad that the ladies of the club added it to our reading list this year.
It's the story of a young orphan boy named Tree-ear, named after a mushroom that grows without benefit of a parent seed. He lives with Crane-man, a kind man who takes him in after his parents are killed. Crane-man receives his name because of one crippled leg. The two live under a bridge in good weather and survive by digging through rubbish bins for cast-off clothes and food.
Eventually, Tree-ear finds himself working for a master potter to pay a debt and the book traces his journey from servant to apprentice and eventually to a skilled artist in his own right. It's a touching story, beautifully written and gently told.
The book was awarded a Newbery Medal. Although the blurb on Amazon.com says it's for ages 10-14, I'd recommend it to anyone from 10 up.
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