Friday, May 7, 2010

"A Single Shard"

Monday, during virtual classroom visit writing time with Mr. Hughes' class while discussing the dialogue lesson from Carol Baldwin's book "Teaching the Story" and reading the examples from literature page, I found this sample very interesting:

Finally, Crane-man poked him. "What demon scratches under your skin tonight?" he asked crossly. "It seems intent on keeping us both from slumber."

Tree-ear sat up, pulled his knees close, and wrapped his arms around them for warmth. "A question demon," he said.

Crane-man sat up too. "Well, let us hear it, then. Perhaps if the question is asked and answered, the demon will leave you in peace -- and I will be able to sleep."

Tree-ear answered slowly. "It is a question about stealing." He paused, started to speak, stopped again. Finally, "Is it stealing to take from another something that cannot be held in your hands?"

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
(Random House, 2001)

The discussion in the class went somewhat like this: Mr. Hughes asking the class, "What do we get from this short piece of dialogue?" Students throwing answers, et cetera. Mr. Hughes: "Can we tell about the people in this book? Who they are? Where they might be from?" Students throwing out answers. Mr. Hughes: "What kind of people do you think have names like 'Tree-ear' and 'Crane-man'? Don't they sound like Native American names, because you know how they usually are named for something of meaning in their community?"

I didn't know anything of the book, did a look up in our public library system (I'm all for checking out books and supporting my local library as per my challenge posted on my other website back in January or February) and found that the branch in our town actually had a copy of the book. Benjamin and I had put several books on hold (we have a system that involves ten counties and we can put a hold request from any of the libraries in those ten counties and they will send them to the branch we indicate to pick them up from) and I got the notices quickly and so while I was in there, I asked about this book. I checked it out and started reading Wednesday night upon retiring to bed. I read about an hour and a half and was surprised to see that I was at about the half way point in the book (Page 72 of 148, the end of Chapter 6 or 7). I wanted to keep reading but knew I had an early day the next morning so turned out the light. Last night I went to bed a little earlier than my normal time and read until i finished the book (again about an hour and a half).

I was totally impressed with the writing and the descriptions throughout the book and although I was learning something of a time and place I'd never known about, the educational aspect of the writing was not overwhelming.

I do recommend this book to anyone who is interested in pottery, history - especially Asian history and just a really well-written book. I can definitely see why this was a Newberry Medal winner.

Product Details
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 160 pages (this may be actual pages, not story - because the story is only 148 pages)
Publisher: Clarion Books; 1St Edition edition (April 23, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0395978270
ISBN-13: 978-0395978276

Check it out if you have a chance - Post a comment here when you've read it to let me know what you think of this book. Mrs. E :)


Carol said...

yes, that's a great book. sounds like it prompted a great discussion in Mr. Hughes classroom too!

elysabeth said...

Carol, thanks for stopping by this evening (well if you are still in Spain it's like 2:30 or 3:30 in the morning, maybe?).

It was a very good book and I was surprised how quickly I read it.

Did you read the comment further down about the grits? The funny thing is that some of the kids actually knew what grits were. I was surprised as you know we can't get decent grits except in the south. Not even the New England states will serve us southerners grits like we like them - lol.

Hope your trip is going well and that you are getting a lot of writing on your WIP done - chat with you soon and looking forward to seeing you again in August - E :)

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