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The Newbery Medal-winning tale of an orphan boy whose dream of becoming a master potter leads to unforeseen adventure in ancient Korea.​Tree-ear is an orphan boy in a 12th-century Korean village renowned for its ceramics. A timeless jewel.”–Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review Linda Sue Park is the author of the Newbery Medal-winning A Single Shard, the best-seller A Long Walk to Water, and the highly-praised novel Prairie Lotus. Cover illustration © 2021 by Dion MBD Cover design by Kaitlin Yang The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows: Park, Linda Sue. I would like to begin my answer here tonight by telling a story. They had been in America for only a few years, and their English was not very good. When he accidentally breaks a delicate piece of pottery, he volunteers to work to pay for the damage. She has also written several acclaimed picture books and serves on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. They were living in the Chicago suburbs, and a city newspaper ran on its comics pages a single-frame cartoon that taught the alphabet phonetically. Putting aside his own dreams, Tree-ear resolves to serve the master potter by embarking on a difficult and dangerous journey, little knowing that it will change his life forever.“Intrigues, danger, and a strong focus on doing what is right turn a simple story into a compelling read. The young woman cut out every one of those cartoons and glued them onto the pages of one of her old college textbooks. Clarion Books is an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Summary: Tree-ear, a thirteen-year-old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge in a potters’ village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself. Since that day I have been asked many times how I came to write a book worthy of that precious sticker. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to trade.permissions@or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016. About fifteen minutes after I’d hung up, the phone rang again. I had gone to bed the night before with my fingers crossed for what I thought was the far-fetched possibility of a Newbery Honor for Kathy also explained that the speakerphone wasn’t working, so she was the only one who’d heard me make a complete fool of myself in three words or less. by Linda Sue Park I would like to begin by proposing that we officially add a second so I am going to do that now and get it over with—because it was not one of my shining eloquent moments. Dinah Stevenson and the people at Clarion Books have made the publication of each of my books a true pleasure. To them and to all my family, boundless gratitude—especially and always, to Ben. P22115 Si 2001 [Fic]—dc21 00-043102 ISBN 978-0-395-97827-6 hardcover ISBN 978-0-547-53426-8 paperback e ISBN 978-0-547-35004-2 v5.0321 TO DINAH, BECAUSE SHE ASKED FOR ANOTHER BOOK I am grateful to sculptor and ceramicist Po-wen Liu, who read the manuscript of this book and offered valuable comments regarding the making of celadon ware. My critique partner Marsha Hayles and my agent, Ginger Knowlton, continue to give me both enthusiastic support and critical feedback—a combination of inestimable worth to a writer. In this way she made an alphabet book for her four-year-old daughter. And so it was that on her first day of school, that little girl, the daughter of Korean immigrants, was the only child in her kindergarten class who could already read. Something wasn’t quite right, and I had no idea what it was. A woman with a bookbag approached the table and said, Of course I didn’t mind, so she pulled the two books out of her bag and handed them to me. That was how my life as a reader began—like so many stories, with a mother. They were already covered with that clear cellophane—you know the stuff I mean. Mine continues with a father who took me to the library. And it was like a lightning bolt—that was what had been missing from my first author copy! I have done a lot of research for all of my books, because my childhood was pretty typically suburban American. (That was the Park Forest Public Library in Park Forest, Illinois.) Every two weeks without fail, unless we were out of town, he spent an hour each Saturday morning choosing books for my siblings and me. My family ate Korean food and kept other aspects of Korean culture alive in our home, but I knew very little about Korea itself. A few years ago, I was thinking about how my father must have known very little about American children’s literature when we were growing up. He left the room for a few moments and came back with a battered accordion file and handed it to me. And a crucial point: I do not speak Korean, other than those three phrases essential in any language: (where is the bathroom). Inside were dozens of publications listing recommended children’s books— brochures, flyers, pamphlets—and most of them were issued by ALA. I often feel the lack of my ancestral tongue keenly, but on the other hand, I try not to forget the flip side—that when I write, I am writing in my first language. The importance of my library upbringing was brought home to me in an unexpected way with the publication of my first book, . It was unquestionably the most beautiful book that had ever been published. So I learned about Korea by reading and writing about it, and what I learned was so interesting that I thought I might like to pass it on, especially to young people. In the summer of 1999, my editor at Clarion Books, Dinah Stevenson, sent me my first author copy, and as you might imagine, it was the most thrilling moment of my life (that is, until the morning of January 21! I do not believe you have to have children or be around children or act like a child to write for children. But I do believe that good children’s writers share two characteristics with their readers: curiosity and enthusiasm. These qualities are what make books for young people such a joyful challenge to write and read: the ardent desire to learn more about the world, and the passion with which that knowledge is received and shared. In my reading I came across the information that in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Korea had produced the finest pottery in the world, better than even China’s, and I decided to set my third novel in that time period. As I was mulling over story ideas, my son said something like and wanted me to write an adventure story, a road book. So that is where the journey part of the story came in. During the writing of the book, I got hopelessly stuck because I was not familiar with the part of Korea that Tree-ear had to travel through. Photographs and maps were simply not enough, and I did not have the wherewithal for a trip to Korea. And just at that time I came across a book called , but years earlier he had written this book about Korea, which I had purchased and never read and forgotten about. Not only had the author walked the length of South Korea in 1987, but he had walked exactly where I needed him to walk, from Puyo almost all the way to Songdo. He described the landscape and what it was like to walk so far over that specific terrain, and I had what I needed to complete the book. Winchester publicly here, for came to me in a single moment: when I saw the photograph of a beautiful celadon vase covered with cranes and clouds in a book of Korean art. I knew in that instant that the character in the book would grow up to make that vase. And for him to make such a remarkable work of art, he would need not only tremendous craftsmanship but also a great love for someone who had something to do with cranes. (By the way, when I first saw that photo, I thought the birds on the vase were storks. ) Much later, after the book was finished, I realized that the story owed a huge debt to another book: , by Elizabeth Borton de Treviño, which won the Newbery Medal in 1966. In that book, the orphaned black slave Juan de Pareja becomes an assistant to the painter Velázquez and is eventually freed by his master, which enables him to pursue his own painting career. The ending speculates on how a certain Velázquez work came to be painted, just as magazine in which I listed what have proven to be the three most memorable books of my childhood and described what I had loved about them. I was startled to realize that two of the three titles featured black protagonists—by Shirley Arora, was about another dark-skinned child, a boy living in India. When I was a child, there were hardly any books featuring Asian characters. The Newbery Medal-winning tale of an orphan boy whose dream of becoming a master potter leads to unforeseen adventure in ancient Korea.​Tree-ear is an orphan boy in a 12th-century Korean village renowned for its ceramics. A timeless jewel.”–Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review Linda Sue Park is the author of the Newbery Medal-winning A Single Shard, the best-seller A Long Walk to Water, and the highly-praised novel Prairie Lotus. Cover illustration © 2021 by Dion MBD Cover design by Kaitlin Yang The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows: Park, Linda Sue. I would like to begin my answer here tonight by telling a story. They had been in America for only a few years, and their English was not very good. When he accidentally breaks a delicate piece of pottery, he volunteers to work to pay for the damage. She has also written several acclaimed picture books and serves on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. They were living in the Chicago suburbs, and a city newspaper ran on its comics pages a single-frame cartoon that taught the alphabet phonetically. Putting aside his own dreams, Tree-ear resolves to serve the master potter by embarking on a difficult and dangerous journey, little knowing that it will change his life forever.“Intrigues, danger, and a strong focus on doing what is right turn a simple story into a compelling read. The young woman cut out every one of those cartoons and glued them onto the pages of one of her old college textbooks. Clarion Books is an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Summary: Tree-ear, a thirteen-year-old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge in a potters’ village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself. Since that day I have been asked many times how I came to write a book worthy of that precious sticker. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to trade.permissions@or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016. About fifteen minutes after I’d hung up, the phone rang again. I had gone to bed the night before with my fingers crossed for what I thought was the far-fetched possibility of a Newbery Honor for Kathy also explained that the speakerphone wasn’t working, so she was the only one who’d heard me make a complete fool of myself in three words or less. by Linda Sue Park I would like to begin by proposing that we officially add a second so I am going to do that now and get it over with—because it was not one of my shining eloquent moments. Dinah Stevenson and the people at Clarion Books have made the publication of each of my books a true pleasure. To them and to all my family, boundless gratitude—especially and always, to Ben. P22115 Si 2001 [Fic]—dc21 00-043102 ISBN 978-0-395-97827-6 hardcover ISBN 978-0-547-53426-8 paperback e ISBN 978-0-547-35004-2 v5.0321 TO DINAH, BECAUSE SHE ASKED FOR ANOTHER BOOK I am grateful to sculptor and ceramicist Po-wen Liu, who read the manuscript of this book and offered valuable comments regarding the making of celadon ware. My critique partner Marsha Hayles and my agent, Ginger Knowlton, continue to give me both enthusiastic support and critical feedback—a combination of inestimable worth to a writer. In this way she made an alphabet book for her four-year-old daughter. And so it was that on her first day of school, that little girl, the daughter of Korean immigrants, was the only child in her kindergarten class who could already read. Something wasn’t quite right, and I had no idea what it was. A woman with a bookbag approached the table and said, Of course I didn’t mind, so she pulled the two books out of her bag and handed them to me. That was how my life as a reader began—like so many stories, with a mother. They were already covered with that clear cellophane—you know the stuff I mean. Mine continues with a father who took me to the library. And it was like a lightning bolt—that was what had been missing from my first author copy! I have done a lot of research for all of my books, because my childhood was pretty typically suburban American. (That was the Park Forest Public Library in Park Forest, Illinois.) Every two weeks without fail, unless we were out of town, he spent an hour each Saturday morning choosing books for my siblings and me. My family ate Korean food and kept other aspects of Korean culture alive in our home, but I knew very little about Korea itself. A few years ago, I was thinking about how my father must have known very little about American children’s literature when we were growing up. He left the room for a few moments and came back with a battered accordion file and handed it to me. And a crucial point: I do not speak Korean, other than those three phrases essential in any language: (where is the bathroom). Inside were dozens of publications listing recommended children’s books— brochures, flyers, pamphlets—and most of them were issued by ALA. I often feel the lack of my ancestral tongue keenly, but on the other hand, I try not to forget the flip side—that when I write, I am writing in my first language. The importance of my library upbringing was brought home to me in an unexpected way with the publication of my first book, . It was unquestionably the most beautiful book that had ever been published. So I learned about Korea by reading and writing about it, and what I learned was so interesting that I thought I might like to pass it on, especially to young people. In the summer of 1999, my editor at Clarion Books, Dinah Stevenson, sent me my first author copy, and as you might imagine, it was the most thrilling moment of my life (that is, until the morning of January 21! I do not believe you have to have children or be around children or act like a child to write for children. But I do believe that good children’s writers share two characteristics with their readers: curiosity and enthusiasm. These qualities are what make books for young people such a joyful challenge to write and read: the ardent desire to learn more about the world, and the passion with which that knowledge is received and shared. In my reading I came across the information that in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Korea had produced the finest pottery in the world, better than even China’s, and I decided to set my third novel in that time period. As I was mulling over story ideas, my son said something like and wanted me to write an adventure story, a road book. So that is where the journey part of the story came in. During the writing of the book, I got hopelessly stuck because I was not familiar with the part of Korea that Tree-ear had to travel through. Photographs and maps were simply not enough, and I did not have the wherewithal for a trip to Korea. And just at that time I came across a book called , but years earlier he had written this book about Korea, which I had purchased and never read and forgotten about. Not only had the author walked the length of South Korea in 1987, but he had walked exactly where I needed him to walk, from Puyo almost all the way to Songdo. He described the landscape and what it was like to walk so far over that specific terrain, and I had what I needed to complete the book. Winchester publicly here, for came to me in a single moment: when I saw the photograph of a beautiful celadon vase covered with cranes and clouds in a book of Korean art. I knew in that instant that the character in the book would grow up to make that vase. And for him to make such a remarkable work of art, he would need not only tremendous craftsmanship but also a great love for someone who had something to do with cranes. (By the way, when I first saw that photo, I thought the birds on the vase were storks. ) Much later, after the book was finished, I realized that the story owed a huge debt to another book: , by Elizabeth Borton de Treviño, which won the Newbery Medal in 1966. In that book, the orphaned black slave Juan de Pareja becomes an assistant to the painter Velázquez and is eventually freed by his master, which enables him to pursue his own painting career. The ending speculates on how a certain Velázquez work came to be painted, just as magazine in which I listed what have proven to be the three most memorable books of my childhood and described what I had loved about them. I was startled to realize that two of the three titles featured black protagonists—by Shirley Arora, was about another dark-skinned child, a boy living in India. When I was a child, there were hardly any books featuring Asian characters.

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