7 Multimodal Works for Expanding on 'A Single Shard' by Linda Sue Park | Refreshing the Canon

Linda Sue Park's Newbery Award–winning middle grade novel A Single Shard tells the story of Tree-ear, an orphan in 12th-century Korea. The boy's heart and courage resonate with readers, and these multimodal picks are great way to expand on the novel's themes and world.

Last month, SLJ asked librarians and educators to weigh in on which classics should remain on summer reading lists. Inspired by the most popular titles that emerged, SLJ editors and members of NCTE’s Build Your Stack® Committee have curated this year’s round of “Refreshing the Canon” selections.

Additionally, we’ve put together multimodal lists of recommendations—including nonfiction, graphic novels, documentaries, and more—that educators can feature in classrooms and libraries alongside the exemplar texts. Our aim is to inspire educators to breathe fresh life into lessons around these works by giving students new context to understand why these classics are still relevant today.

Be sure to check out the 2022 “Refreshing the Canon” lists for more read-alikes of time-honored summer reading picks.

Linda Sue Park's Newbery Award–winning novel A Single Shard tells the story of Tree-ear, an orphan in 12th-century Korea. After the boy accidentally breaks the potter Min's work, he offers to work for the man to pay for the debt, and later takes a daring trip to show the king's emissary Min's pottery. The boy's heart and courage resonate with readers, and the below multimodal picks are great way to expand on the novel's themes and world.

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo. ­illus. by Sophie Blackall. Candlewick. 2021. ISBN 9781536213614.
This fantastical middle grade tale tells of a young girl in a medieval land who is found sick and alone by a monk. The girl, who knows how to read and write in a land where girls are forbidden to, later sets off on a journey that could change her world. 

Wild Bird by Diane Zahler. Roaring Brook. 2023. ISBN 9781250833402.
In 14th-century Europe, a 12-year-old girl survives "the sickness" in a Norwegian village and is found alone by a boy trying to get to his family in England. They set off on a dangerous trek together, showing both their bravery and a glimpse of life in the Middle Ages. 

Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes by Robin Ha. Ten Speed. 2016. ISBN 9781607748878.
This adult title is both a graphic novel and a cookbook that provides Korean recipes and cultural insights. It can help readers draw connections between the culture and traditions in A Single Shard to culture and traditions today, while also creating an opportunity to cook a new dish.

Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet by Andrea Cheng. Lee & Low. 2017. ISBN 9781620148075.
This biography in verse centers on Dave the Potter, an enslaved man who learned to make jars, pots, and jugs on a potter’s wheel—carving sayings or poems into them and even signing his name. 


Korean Pottery "Story Of A Thousand Years" Episode 1 directed & edited by Ariel Song, produced by the Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles. 2020. 
This short video from the Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles discusses the history of Korean pottery creation, including visual examples, from its start centuries ago to a modern master continuing to move the artform forward.

Web resources
Stories of Clay: Discovering Chosŏn Korean Potters in Tokugawa Japan curated by Seung Yeon Sang & Rebekah Clements. interactive website.
This virtual exhibition traces the history of Korean potters in Japan and the influence they had on Japanese ceramics. Students will learn about other Korean potters and the evolution of pottery styles in the centuries after A Single Shard takes place.

Hanji by Mark Cartwright. narrated by Justin Chay. World History Encyclopedia. 
Papermaking is another ancient art form practiced by masters in Korea, and the processes and materials can be compared to pottery making. This short audio is also a useful addition to conversations about art, creation of practical materials, and understanding of quality vs. quantity both then and now.



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