A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park is an excellent piece of historical fiction aimed at a middle grade to young adult reading level. It has fascinating, complex characters, and is very informative about the setting (12th Century Korea) and what it might have been like from the perspective of an everyday person. I love these sorts of looks at culture and historical context.
There are many beautiful messages scattered through this book about the importance of art and found family and perseverance and taking risks for your dreams (even when they seem daunting).
I love the use of folklore motifs throughout the novel, and I love the way that it looks through a historical and cultural window into a different time. This would be an excellent complement in the classroom to the more common European geared look at historical fiction, and I could easily see putting it next to the young adult historical fiction novels of E. L. Konisburg or other similar writers.
Reading Level: mid-elementary through middle, could also be examined in college in the context of historical lit perspectives
Pair With: E. L. Konisburg, young adult historical fiction from around the world