Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Memories: A Single Shard

Welcome to my meme, Monday Memories, where I feature favorite books we've loved from the past. You can link to an old review, or write something new about a beloved book from your past. Really, what's important is not the book, but why it is memorable to you. So, have fun reminiscing, and leave a comment below, so we can all enjoy your memories.

I also wanted to let you know about another wonderful blog that you should check out. Ashley @ Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing does a weekly post called Memory Monday. She has been posting about her childhood memories of books. What's great about Ashley's site is that she is asking for guest posts for her Memory Monday event!  So hop on over there and check it out.

A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park, won the Newbery Medal in 2002. I was a newbie librarian back then, and I couldn't wait to read the winner and share it with all of my middle school students. Don't get me wrong, I loved this book. It's a story that takes place in 12th-century Korea, about a very poor boy who, after breaking a very expensive piece of pottery, has to make up for it by working for the potter. He eventually works hard enough to become a potter too. It's a story of supreme struggle and sacrifice, with messages about working together for the good of many, and courage, and it's very beautifully written. But...when I finished it, I thought, "Oh, I'll give this to.....who?"

I couldn't really see the appeal to the general middle school population. I really couldn't recommend this title as an overall entertaining book. I think it would be great to go along with a study of ancient cultures. It could be my fault because of my feelings, but this book rarely, if ever, got checked out. Even after publicizing it as a "Winner!"

In my opinion, kids would much rather choose a book because they've heard from other kids that it's good. I don't think they care about winners. And, this was my first realization that awards committees don't always care about what appeals to kids either. There's a definite disconnect, at least sometimes.

I encourage you to disagree with me in the comments! I'd love to hear your experiences with children and this book.

Share one of your cherished book memories!

You can do a Monday Memories post on your blog. Copy my button and link back here, so others can see all the other posts.  Leave a comment below with the link to your post.

Or, just leave one of your Monday Memories right here in the comments.

Be sure to visit some other blogs that have posted their links. Thanks!

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  1. I absolutely loved this book! I first came to it about 5-6yrs ago for a book club (adults) and had to read it again last year (or the year before..memory not so good). Bummer that the young kids didn't take to it.

  2. I think this book sounds like an amazing read. As an adult, I think I'd love this book, but when I was young? I don't know.

    One of my favorite Newberry award books was The Witch of Blackbird Pond. It was one of my earliest reads, recommended to me by my mom, who had loved it when she was a kid. But my own daughter didn't enjoy it at all. I was so disappointed!

  3. You are so right Annette. Award winning books are invariably good, but just do not appeal to the majority of the kids in the range it is written for. As adults we can understand the reasons for the award, but it's hard to sell kids on those reasons. Perhaps we should have more 'readers choice' awards?

    1. I have been involved (on the reading committee) for our state's reader's choice awards. I loved it. It's great hearing what teens have to say about books -- often, not what I expected.


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