Linda Sue Park's A Single Shard takes young readers on a journey through twelfth-century Korea. The young hero of Park’s novel is a homeless orphan named Tree-Ear. Raised by the noble, though disabled, Crane-man, the boy greatly desires to learn the potter trade. He spies on master potter Min, becoming his unpaid servant when he accidentally breaks a precious piece of ceramic. One day, the emperor's assistant comes to the village with a commission for the master potters, who anxiously set about competing to make the finest pieces. Tree-Ear discovers that another potter has perfected a technique of inlay, and is conflicted about whether to tell Min. But Min also knows how to properly inlay, and his samples are to be carried to the emperor's palace for inspection. Tree-Ear is given this arduous and critical task, only to be set upon by thieves who destroy all the pots, save one shard. Yet even this shard is enough to convince the emperor that Min is the most skilled of the potters, and he receives the commission. When Crane-Man dies, Min adopts Tree-Ear, and finally teaches him the art of creating pottery. Park’s novel won the Newbery Award in 2002, and is a skillfully molded story of a boy determined to find his creative passion.