I am working on a few mock lists for this upcoming award’s season and this novel appeared on several of those lists.
Title: The One Thing You’d Save
Author: Linda Sue Park
Illustrator: Robert Sae-Heng
If your house was on fire and your family was safe, what one item would you save? A classroom of responses shows that we all place importance on different things. While some students would save a cell phone, or a rug to help put out anyone on fire, others save an ugly sweater that is irreplaceable. This thought experiment makes the varied voices of this book come alive and pushes readers to think. So, what is the one thing you would save?
This book is an experience. Readers are surrounded by illustrations that enhance the text. The author uses the Korean poetic form of sijo to give voice to her characters, allowing each of them a turn to speak. The emotions behind a person’s one thing truly develops them as a character and makes this feel like a real classroom. Each element of this book was intentional and it was awesome.