Crispin: The Cross of Lead 2003 Medal Winner *****

Crispin: The Cross of Lead is a story set in 14th century England when the Feudal system was common among the villages. When Asta dies her son inherits a cross made of lead with words that he cannot read. He then accidentally overhears a conversation that changes the course of his life. Father Quinlen tells him his name is actually Crispin and promises to reveal the identity of his father but is murdered. With the cross as his sole possession and a half year's salary as bounty for his head he escapes the only place he has ever known and tries to make his way to a place where over 30,000 people live called a town. On his way he meets a tall large man, Bear who forces him to pledge Crispin's allegiance to him for the rest of his life. Together Bear and Crispin unravel the truth about Crispin and who he really is.

Avi is becoming one of my new favorite authors. He has this uncanny ability to transport you to another time and you actually think you are reading about a person who truly lived on this earth. When Avi talks about Crispin's experience climbing a set of stairs for the first time I was riveted. It never dawned on me how that would truly feel to someone who had never been higher than the ground. The story is compelling and moves very quickly. You don't want to skim a single paragraph. A great book for ages 4th grade and higher, even adults will have a difficult time putting this one down. The only reason I didn't give it 6 stars is because I was disappointed with the ending.

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