The One Thing You'd Save
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The One Thing You'd Save, written by Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Robert Sae-Heng, is a novel in verse about the items students would save if their homes were on fire. The sparse text is written using the line structure of sijo, a traditional form of Korean poetry. Detailed grayscale illustrations accompany the text on most pages. A strong, vibrant classroom community that fosters open communication, curiosity, and respect is highlighted. Readers who've experienced a fire or other home disaster may find the topic difficult.
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What's the Story?
In THE ONE THING YOU'D SAVE, classroom teacher Ms. Chang asks her students to consider and discuss what one thing they'd save if their home was on fire. Written in verse, the novel details the students' answers, whether in private thoughts, conversations with friends, or classroom discussions. Students' answers encompass a range of objects, from practical to personal to sentimental to life-saving. Choices include a cell phone, a sweater knitted by a grandmother, and a parent's insulin kit. In the end, the students' thoughtful responses cause Ms. Chan to change her mind about the one thing she'd save.
Is It Any Good?
This short yet complex book is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. The One Thing You'd Save is sure to prompt interesting discussions in classrooms, in middle-grade book clubs, and among families. Readers will find something to relate to in the range of items chosen and emotions expressed by the students. They'll also learn something about respectful communication from the lively discussion in Ms. Chan's classroom. Interesting and sometimes intricate grayscale illustrations also catch the reader's eye. Some sensitive readers may find imagining what to save in fire to be a scary thought.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the students' responses in The One Thing You'd Save. Were you surprised by any of the answers? Did you relate to any of the answers? If so, why?
If you were in Ms. Chang's class, what would your answer be? What one thing would you save if your home was on fire?
The book was written in verse using the line structure from a form of traditional Korean poetry. What did you think of the format? Did it feel different than reading a standard novel? How?
- Author: Linda Sue Park
- Illustrator: Robert Sae-Heng
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Topics: STEM, Friendship, Science and Nature
- Character Strengths: Communication, Curiosity
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Clarion Books
- Publication date: March 16, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 80
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, App
- Last updated: March 3, 2023
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