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Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park pens a challenge to have us all, children and adults alike, consider the question of what matters most in our lives. This refreshing exercise in an age of semmingly unchecked consumerism requires us to consider the background and origin of our material goods and to reflect upon what we value and why.
If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save? Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park explores different answers to this provocative question in linked poems that capture the diverse voices of a middle school class. Illustrated with black-and-white art.
When a teacher asks her class what one thing they would save in an emergency, some students know the answer right away. Others come to their decisions more slowly. And some change their minds when they hear their classmates’ responses. A lively dialog ignites as the students discover unexpected facets of one another—and themselves. With her ear for authentic dialog and knowledge of tweens’ priorities and emotions, Linda Sue Park brings the varied voices of an inclusive classroom to life through carefully honed, engaging, and instantly accessible verse.
About the Author
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. She has also written several acclaimed picture books and serves on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. She lives in western New York with her family. www.lindasuepark.com, Twitter: @LindaSuePark
Robert Sae-Heng is an illustrator and teacher who lives in London. www.robertsaeheng.com, Twitter: @robertsaeheng, Instagram: @robertsaeheng
"[Park's] message is powerful: We don’t need a great blazing tragedy to determine what we hold most precious in our lives; we can define what’s vital through our thoughts and memories, always at hand, in our heads and hearts — safe, where the flames don’t reach."—New York Times Book Review
"Park’s verses provide a wonderfully nuanced portrayal of the preoccupations, loves, losses and aspirations of a diverse group of children and their teacher.... It’s impossible not to feel a sense of renewal from this thoughtful book."—BookPage
★ "Newbery Medalist Park presents a provocative collection of narrative poems inspired by sijo, a 14th-century Korean syllabic verse form.... Coupled with debut illustrator Sae-Heng’s accessible grayscale sketches of the objects, often in situ, Park’s subjects’ mementos offer middle-grade readers much food for thought regarding what one values and how others can touch one’s life.... Park’s extended rumination has the power to bring us home."—Kirkus, STARRED review
★ "This is an ode to learning with a savvy and caring educator who knows how to build community and empathy by having students share their stories and who joins in their exercises (and is even convinced to change her mind)."—The Horn Book, STARRED review
★ "The class’s camaraderie and caring spirit comes through clearly, poised to inspire thoughtful classroom discussion."—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
★ "This is a combination of piquant premise and accessible, engaging text... that will invite both reluctant and enthusiastic literati to reconsider their possessions. It also cries out to be a classroom read or even readaloud."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, STARRED review