all the broken pieces by Ann E. Burg
* Rebecca Caudill 2012 Nominee *
Matt Pin was air-lifted out of Vietnam at the age of ten. His adoption by an American family is successful. He is twelve now and is still working to remember and make sense of the war. His Vietnam is only a "pocketful of broken pieces I carry inside me". One boy relentlessly calls Matt names because his older brother died in Vietnam. As it turn out, his piano teacher is a Vietnam veteran. Matt likes his piano lessons and feels as if music shields him. He is so good at baseball that he is one of only four seventh graders who make the team. His baseball coaches have a profound influence on him.
Matt has much to think about and process. Even broken pieces are worth something to him. He discovers that sometimes it is useful to open things up and have a closer look. It might help in understanding how things work the way they do. This book is unique because it is written in free verse. Using few words seems to amplify the impact of each word. The book reminds us how feelings and conflicting thoughts get tangled in peoples' minds.