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Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Crispin (Paperback)) Paperback – June 1, 2004
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After being declared a "wolf's head" by his manor's corrupt steward for a crime he didn't commit (meaning that anyone can kill him like a common animal--and collect a reward), this timid boy has to flee a tiny village that's the only world he's ever known. But before our protagonist escapes, Avi makes sure that we're thoroughly briefed on the injustices of feudalism--the countless taxes cottars must pay, the constant violence, the inability of a flawed church to protect its parishioners, etc. Avi then folds in the book's central mystery just as the boy is leaving: "Asta's son," as he's always been known, learns from the village priest that his Christian name is Crispin, and that his parents' origins--and fates--might be more perplexing than he ever imagined.
Providing plenty of period detail (appropriately gratuitous for the age group) and plenty of chase-scene suspense, Avi tells a good story, develops a couple of fairly compelling characters, and even manages to teach a little history lesson. (Fortunately, kids won't realize that they're learning about England's peasant revolt of 1381 until it's far too late.) (Ages 10 to 14) --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
Avi is part of a family of writers extending back into the 19th century. Born in 1937 and raised in New York City, Avi was educated in local schools, before going to the Midwest and then back to NYC to complete his education. Starting out as a playwright--while working for many years as a librarian--he began writing books for young people when the first of his kids came along.
His first book was Things That Sometimes Happen, published in 1970, and recently reissued. Since then he has published seventy books. Winner of many awards, including the 2003 Newbery award for Crispin: the Cross of Lead (Hyperion), two Newbery Honors, two Horn Book awards, and an O'Dell award, as well as many children's choice awards, he frequently travels to schools around the country to talk to his readers.
Among his most popular books are Crispin: The Cross of Lead, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, the Poppy books, Midnight Magic, and The Fighting Ground.
In 2008 he published The Seer of Shadows (HarperCollins), A Beginning a Muddle and an End (Harcourt), Hard Gold (Hyperion) and Not Seeing is Believing, a one-act play in the collection, Acting Out (Simon and Schuster). Crispin: the End of Time, the third in the Newbery Award-winning series, was published in 2010. City of Orphans was released in 2011, receiving a number of starred reviews. Learn more at Avi-writer.com. Follow Avi on Facebook, facebook.com/avi.writer, where he shares an inside look at his writing process.
Avi lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife and family.
Top Customer Reviews
"Time was the great millstone, which ground us to dust like kerneled wheat. The Holy Church told us where we were in the alterations of the day, the year, and in our daily toil. Birth and death alone gave distinction to our lives, as we made the journey between the darkness from whence we had come to the darkness where we were fated to await Judgment Day."
CRISPIN is the name of the 13-year-old peasant main character; although, the only name he's known for himself is "Asta's Son." That is until his mother dies, and in his blinding grief he stumbles upon a secret meeting in the woods between John Aycliffe--the steward of the manor--and a wealthy stranger. In a flash he finds himself the target of a plot in which he is falsely accused of a theft and declared a "wolf's head," allowing anyone to kill him on sight. On his way "out of town" the village priest tells the boy his real name, tells him to hide out for 24 hours until he can round up some provisions, and promises to reveal some more vital information the next day. Then the priest proceeds to get his throat slit and Crispin is on the run with the theft AND the priest's murder hanging over him. What happens to him is one of those stories that is so well crafted that you can taste and smell the settings, as well as hear the sinister growl in Aycliffe's throat, as you anxiously wait for something to go right for Crispin.Read more ›
Avi's novel tells the story of a young boy of fourteenth century England. He is a nameless, fatherless boy who becomes a fugitive when he is falsely accused of a crime on the very day his mother dies. Inadvertently becoming the servant of a strange entertainer named Bear, he slowly learns the truth of his world and himself. Forced to make some interesting choices at the climax of the novel, the nameless boy surprises the reader by becoming Crispin--but not in the way that might be expected.
If I seem cryptic, it's because I don't want to give away the wonderful twists at the close of the story. Avi has written a wonderfully readable novel which I would recommend to any reader.
Well, here's the deal - I am searching for high quality historical fiction in a variety of reading levels for a future project for my class. Avi's 'Crispin: The Cross of Lead' fits the bill perfectly for my students with lower level reading skills.
Set in Medieval England, Avi creates an interesting story and accurately depicts the toil of a peasant's life, pointing out some of the more interesting aspects of that time in history, including the plague, the power of the church, the massive amount of illiteracy, the filth, and more. What I like about it is that Avi writes a simple book without talking down to his readers.
This book fits my classroom's need wonderfully. For all of you teachers out there I strongly recommend it.
With nothing to his name except a lead cross that belonged to his mother, Crispin sets out on a frightening journey, full of danger and excitement, to save his life and justify himself. But no matter how far he flees, Crispin is pursued. The villagers know he didn't do it, but they continue on under the order of the steward. The same steward that made life terrible for the villagers. He increased labor, decreased pay, and executed the innocent. Why then, are they so eager to follow his orders?
In Crispin, Avi writes yet another incredibly delightful story, bound to hold any reader to the end. This tale of a courageous and hopeful youth will have a place in your heart, and you remember it for years to come. The pages are full of action and suspense, but also present interesting facts in a fun way. Although suitable for ages ten to fourteen, a person of any age would enjoy this compelling book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was "okay..." Nothing was really exciting in the beginning at all. It was trying to stay awake after taking Nyquil. Yawn. Read morePublished 1 month ago by jacob thompson
Well written, giving great imagery of medieval life while keeping you on the edge of your seat at the riveting story! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Anne Ash's Mom
Wonderful beyond all measures. Crispin the cross of lead is very mysterious and scary. I loved the fantastic book of the series it added wonder to my heartPublished 2 months ago by momof4bees
This is a brilliant book:
1. The plot and prose are both good and something that I could imagine a 12 year old boy getting into (I have two... Read more
My son needed this for a class project. It is a wonderful story (with two other sequels) This is great for any sixth to eighth grader that loves to read and want to read a great... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Donnie Reed
Read this with my 8th graders last year. The students thoroughly enjoyed the story.Published 4 months ago by Palma M. Hudson