A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
I read A Single Shard when it was first published, and chose it as one of our road trip reads for my husband and daughter. They liked it as much as my son and I had when we first read it. Set in a small pottery-making village in 12th century Korea, the story was inspired by the masterpiece of Korean pottery, the Thousand Crane Vase. Linda Sue Park uses a rich background of culture and tradition for what is a simple coming of age story. There are no surprises here, but none are needed. Gently told, our hero grows up like most do - without fanfare, realizing he has arrived only after the fact. We see his heroism in his resiliency and strength of character, his honesty and his love for others. Those are traits too seldom celebrated, but so much a part of our daily lives. It was a pleasure to listen to a story where a battle is won not over supernatural foes, but over greed and apathy.