Crispin: The Cross of Lead (2003 Newbery winner)

This historical fiction novel set in 14th century England, tells the story of 13-year old orphaned Crispin-falsely accused, and on the run for his life.

I was initially drawn to this book simply by the cover illustration-a terrified boy clutches a cross of lead, as an angry mob of armed men appear to be pursuing him. Once I started book, I could not put Crispin down, the story is very well told with plenty of action, plot twists and satisfying characters. Boys will especially enjoy this story.

Avi does not sanitize the horrors, corruption, or violence of this time period. I do think the difficult passages are well done, and will certainly pave the way for discussion regarding life in the Middle- Ages.

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