The Potter's Boy
256p. Scholastic/David Fickling Bks. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338285390.
Gr 4–7—In a small village many years ago, Ryo trains to be a potter, like his father. But one day, when a lone warrior from a disciplined group known as the Hidden Ones comes and fights off dangerous bandits, Ryo begins to rethink his life plan. When he turns 13, the choice is Ryo's on how to spend his time, and he decides to find a hermit who can train him in the concentrated fighting ways of the Hidden Ones. By making this choice, the boy must abandon his family, his village, and everything that is familiar to him for the time being. Ryo's intensive apprenticeship teaches him not only about fighting but also how to best live his life with principles of mindfulness and an appreciation for the present moment. His journey has unexpected twists and turns, and he runs into challenges of violence and loneliness. Along the way, he meets important mentors and friends and comes to recognize the importance of being more aware of his inner self.
VERDICT An intriguing mix of introspection and action.

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