All the Broken Pieces

All the Broken Pieces

by Ann E. Burg


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An award-winning debut novel from a stellar new voice in middle grade fiction.

Matt Pin would like to forget: war torn Vietnam, bombs that fell like dead crows, and the terrible secret he left behind. But now that he is living with a caring adoptive family in the United States, he finds himself forced to confront his past. And that means choosing between silence and candor, blame and forgiveness, fear and freedom.

By turns harrowing, dreamlike, sad, and triumphant, this searing debut novel, written in lucid verse, reveals an unforgettable perspective on the lasting impact of war and the healing power of love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545080934
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 03/01/2012
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 88,400
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 5.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 11 - 18 Years

About the Author

Ann Burg's debut novel, All the Broken Pieces(2009), was named a Jefferson Cup award winner and an IRA Notable Book for a Global Society, among its many honors. Her follow-up, Serafina's Promise (2013), was named an ALA Notable, Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner, and an NAACP Image Award finalist. Burg worked as an English teacher for 10 years before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Rhinebeck, New York, with her family. You can visit her online at

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All the Broken Pieces 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
PadenS1 More than 1 year ago
This is about a young by named Matt who is Vietnamese and has to deal with people at school and on his baseball team being mean about him being mean. While the war is still raging and memories of bombings and other traumas are fresh. Matt has to deal with the difficulties that many veterans face when returning home at a time when post traumatic stress disorder wasn't yet recognized. What I liked about this book is that it is a novel in verse. So it is kind of a fast read. Also I like this book because it makes you not want to but the book down so you just want to keep reading it. I recommend this book to people in either 7th grade or 8th grade there are not any like super hard words that kids in that grade wouldn't understand.
gilkeson-L More than 1 year ago
All the Broken Pieces is about a Vietnamese boy who gets brought to America. A family adopted him and he goes to school and gets bullied because he is from Vietnam. He tries out for the baseball team and makes it. Kids don't like him cause they hear their parents talk about the war and things. The Vietnam war just got over and everyone is mad at them. I liked this book cause it is about baseball and many other things. I like it cause it gives a little bit of information about the war and I thought that was pretty cool. I like how the baseball team begins to respect him and realize his talent. This book isn't just for baseball fans. It can also be for people that are interested into war and culture. I think that this book would be good for anyone that like cliff hanger books and really like reading. This book is really short and is a good read for anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Compelling ang gripping story. Though a quick read, the text is thick with ideas that are rich in history and relevant today. The issues addressed in the story can lead to deep and important discussions and I plan on using this book in my classroom.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Matt Pin was airlifted from Vietnam at the age of 10 and adopted by an American family. He is now in seventh grade and has adjusted well to his new family. He remembers the early adoption classes and meetings when he was learning to speak English, and he's glad they helped him remember the customs and traditions of his culture. His American parents now have a biological son, but Matt has always felt loved and appreciated. The downside is that Matt also remembers Vietnam. He hasn't forgotten the sounds, the smells, and the horrors of war. He knows his father was an American soldier, but he's not sure why he left his mother behind. Should he want to find this missing father or just put it all in the past? He knows his mother told him she loved him and that was why she sent him away, but how do you give up someone you love? What haunts him the most is the younger brother he left behind. Matt can't find the words to share the tragic story that separated him from the toddler. His loving American parents hope time will heal the many wounds created by the awfulness of war. Their encouragement, along with that of another Vietnam vet, the game of baseball, and Matt's interest in music, work together to start the healing process. ALL THE BROKEN PIECES is the first novel for author Ann E. Burg. Written in verse, the spare language brings focus to the raw emotions felt by all the characters. Burg examines the effects of war from many vantage points as she involves her readers in this turbulent time. Even readers without a connection to this controversial war will come away with an understanding of the widespread damage done when war is chosen over peace.
DSW More than 1 year ago
One of the best new books I've read this year. Quick read, but stays with you. Ann Burg's ability to communicate such a powerful message in so few words using free verse poetry is amazing. A great book for the classroom. I'd also recommend this book for book clubs (kids and adults) that want a quick read with lots of depth and complexity.
meggyweg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very sweet, touching story, making real the horrors of the Vietnam War but at the same time still appropriate for 9-to-12s. Airlifted out of Vietnam and evacuated to safety in America, twelve-year-old Matt has been living for two years with adoptive parents who adore him. But the war lingers, in his own mind and in the world around him. He misses the family he left behind; he blames himself for his lost little brother's land mine injuries. Once a week he goes to a meeting for Vietnam veterans, many of them disabled. He tries to reconcile his new life with the one he used to have.The free verse makes the story zip along nicely, and the baseball games give it structure. Matt's piano teacher and his coach are excellent role models. And on top of all of that, on top of enlightening the modern young reader about this forty-year-old war, I think this book is also a good example of how an adoptive family should be. Matt's parents love him unconditionally, the same as they do their biological son, but they also don't try to deny his heritage.I would highly recommend this, particularly for a school unit on Vietnam or war in general.
blockbuster1994 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
All The Broken PiecesA Novel in Verse by Ann E. BurgRead by Tommy Watson and Kate Watson Vietnam, a war across the World, in another time,My Grandfather went to Vietnam, but died with stories still stuck in his throat not ready to tell,when I was very young.Vietnam affected practically everyone in the World.Soldiers, sisters, brothers, babies, mothers, fathers--- Countries grieving the dead, the injured, the heroes returned,angry and hurt and raw people, scarred by the War. Matt Pin, a Vietnamese boy, placed in soldiers¿ hands,enemies trusted by his mother,after his little brother broke into pieces,(¿his legs gone-they weren¿t there anymore,his fingers missing too,his hands were small mangled stumps¿). In our Country, still angry and raw and hurt,Love brings forth hope in a new family.Matt remembers the old one in another angry and raw and hurt country.Left to live in Vietnam. A piano and a family friendwork together, healing what Vietnam destroyed. Music is certain. It does not set land mines. It does not scar.It does not break into pieces like Matt¿s little brother.Baseball is not so certain.Rob is angry, hurt and raw,his older brother dead in Vietnam.Rob embraces hate,hurling it at Matt like a dead center, heater pitch.It is almost unbearable, what Vietnam has doneto so many people.But even the most angry and hurt and raw people canovercome Vietnam. Each in his own way. Each together.Soldiers, sisters, brothers, babies, mothers, fathers---scarred by War, healed as Brothers.
ECHSLibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't know what to expect with this book since I hadn't heard anything about it. Wow. It was so well-written with beautiful language to create a feel for the emotions. This was a story about a child born to a Vietnamese mother and US Soldier father. The father is no longer in the picture. When Saigon falls, his mother sends him to the US, keeping his sibling with her. The child's perception of why this happened and how he is received in America is clearly stated. There are twists and you root for him all the way. Great book.
iheartlit on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Matt Pin is airlifted out of Vietnam during the war. When he arrives in the United States he is adopted by a loving American family. He has a little brother sidekick and is the star pitcher of the baseball team. Everything is perfect, right? Wrong. Matt can't escape his war-torn past. His Vietnamese mother and brother haunt his dreams. The horror of the war is never far and seems to mar every aspect of Matt's life tempering his happiness and haunting his dreams. WIll Matt ever find peace? This beautifully written novel in verse evokes deep emotions through carefully selected words. What is not said is just as importance as what is described.
speedy74 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written free verse book about the lasting effects of the Vietnam Conflict. This book is written probably more for preteens, but it may be a quick read for teens to give them background about some of the problems Vietnam Vets encountered when they came home.
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was crying by the end of this book! I found Matt's story of memory and healing so touching. The poetry was sparse and beautiful. Matt was airlifted out of Vietnam. His mom gave him to the American soldiers to get a chance at a better life. His brother was gravely injured. Matt's new family is loving, accepting, and patient. Matt plays on the baseball team and takes piano lessons from a Vietnam Vet. Through a series of experiences and time, he learns to share what he saw in Vietnam during the war.
ewang109 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Burg, A.E. (2009). All the broken pieces. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.Grades 7 and up. Matt was airlifted out of Vietnam when he was only 10 years old. Although he lives with loving adoptive parents in the United States, the Vietnam War still haunts him. He remembers his mother telling him he must leave; his younger brother being hit by a bomb, which causes him to lose his legs; and his father who is an American soldier who promises to return, but never does.Not only does Matt¿s past trouble him, but also he is the target of resentment. A few kids on his baseball team despise him, because they believe that their family members who were U.S. soldiers died for Vietnamese people like him. These kids constantly call Matt racial slurs. All the Broken Pieces is told in free verse. It is an extremely powerful story about pain, guilt, and reconciliation. The stanzas are heartfelt, gut wrenching, and deeply moving. Matt¿s inner conflict will definitely move readers. They will be touched by his desire to heal from his past and to find his true identify. This story also presents the Vietnam War from different perspectives: Vietnam War veterans, family members who lost loved ones, and the Vietnamese. I highly recommend this book for a middle school library.
bethdalton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a quick read, in part because it is short verse poetry. It reads, however, like a simple, beautifully written story. It is 1977 and 12-year-old Matt Pin is struggling how to fit into his new life. He is the son of a Vietnamese woman and an American soldier he doesn't remember. He was airlifted to safety from the war zone when the American evacuated Vietnam at the end of the war. Adopted by a caring American couple, he has worries about the fates of his mother and badly injured little brother. He also carries a secret he cannot share with anyone. Matt's adoptive family adores him and support him. His father is a military man and connects Matt with veterans who welcome him into their support group. They see in him what they struggled to give to Vietnam. He becomes the star pitcher for his middle school baseball team and must face a fellow player who lost his brother in Vietnam. Through the intervention of good coaches, loving parents, the veterans and a loving community, Matt begins to heal. If you like stories about human relationships, you will love this book.
sdiana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Vietnam, the war America wants to forget is the common bond between Matt Pin and so many people he knows. It was the war that caused him to leave his mother and brother in the airlift, took his classmate¿s brother, took so much from the veterans and their families. In sparse but graphic prose, Burg has Matt tell the story of his memories of Vietnam. He was born to an American father he never knew and a Vietnamese mother. Early in the story the reader learns that he was airlifted in the last days of the war, and adopted by an American family. His new father encourages an interest in baseball, and Matt makes the team, only to be shunned by some of the other boys. ¿Matt-the-rat, if you make the team I¿ll quit.¿ Matt finds some comfort in the piano "I'm sheltered in that safe place where the only thing that matters is mucic" but always worries about his two families.With the help of his coach, his father and his piano teacher Matt and those around him learn to come to terms with some of the memories that haunt them. Each page is sparse with a lot of white space. Dialogue is denoted only by italics. This would appeal to readers who like free verse, middle school boys, those interested in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Great curriculum connection for Social Studies.
prkcs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two years after being airlifted out of Vietnam in 1975, Matt Pin is haunted by the terrible secret he left behind and, now, in a loving adoptive home in the United States, a series of profound events forces him to confront his past.
skstiles612 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Matt Pin remembers broken pieces of his life in Vietnam. He was one of many children airlifted by the Americans. He like many Vietnam Vets are holding on to memories that hurt to remember but need to be released. Encouraged to try out for the baseball team he faces a new problem, prejudice by a team member because he had lost his brother in Vietnam. What will it take to start the healing process? This was a very quick book to read and one that is a definite must buy for my shelves. I grew up during the Vietnam era and remember the treatment of returning soldiers. The message found in this book was very simple, yet hit you on a deep level. I can¿t wait to recommend this book to my students.
librarian_k on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a really great book, but I fear it won't reach the audience it is intended for. It's one of those "good" books that kids won't want to read. But some kids will pick it up and thoroughly enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an American combat soldier, who served in Vietnam, it was clearly evident to me, during my first 11 months of service, who were the real victims of that war…my fellow soldiers who served heroically. Then I visited an orphanage in Saigon during my last month in Vietnam. I never once thought of children suffering in that war but it was clear to me after the orphanage visit that the REAL victims of that war were the children. As soldiers, we expected trauma. As children growing up in Vietnam, during that war (and the preceding French version), children experienced horror that is indescribable. Parents and siblings killed, orphans left homeless, sometimes limbless, sometimes tragically fried by our indiscriminant use of napalm but all left with emotional scars that probably never healed. One thing we had in common with the children was our own inability to recover emotionally from the scars deeply entrenched by that war. Unpacking those emotions took decades for many of us with many more never recovering from not only the trauma associated with Vietnam but the blame implemented by our careless peers upon our return home. All the Broken Pieces is an extraordinary piece of literature that puts the emotional pain clearly in view then slowly establishes healing. It was the story of Matt’s inner trauma that plagued his life until a baseball coach and Vietnam veteran’s mentorship began to set the stage for Matt’s healing. This book should be read by everybody who served in Vietnam and to everyone who would like to understand the complex emotional issues that tormented both children and soldiers of that war. My heartfelt thanks to Ann E. Burg who wrote this healing masterpiece that aloud me to repair my inability to cry after so many years. And my thanks for all of the teachers, including my youngest daughter’s English teacher, who require their students to read and discuss this extraordinary book. Read it and encourage your children to read is AMAZING! Thank you again Ann and thanks to the publisher for understanding the importance of publishing this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MishMill More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The message of acceptance, tolerance and hope, set during the aftermath of Vietnam, was quite moving. Matt is a compelling main character, a Vietnamese adoptee struggling to adapt and be accepted in America. Ann E. Burg's writing is great. The free verse is wonderful! Buy this book!
cantstopreading39 More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I picked it up while waiting for my granddaughter and realized I would be sobbing in the children's department if I didn't finish it at home. The realization of the back story and the main character's confusion at the beginning was so moving. I later found the book moved to growth and satisfactory resolution through loving and supportive relationships. The writing was excellent, quick moving and deeply felt. The young narrator's point of view and understandings felt real as he struggled to understand his two worlds: the Vietnam he left behind with mother and brother and war, and the America that was so different and did not accept either refugees or returning soldiers well. This book was in the children's department and seems to be viewed as a children's book. It is entirely appropriate for adult readers as well, perhaps enhanced by our memory of the period. Younger children who read this should do so with a caring adult.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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