Sunday, January 22, 2006

Jerusalem Sky: Stars, Crosses, and Crescents

Podwal, Mark. 2005. JERUSALEM SKY: STARS, CROSSES, AND CRESCENTS. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 038574689X [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]

Written and illustrated by Mark Podwal, JERSALEM SKY presents the city of Jerusalem over which people have fought for centuries. With simple yet beautiful poetic language, Podwal describes this spiritual center for three of the world’s major religions each with an equal right to the city. Podwal uses the sky itself above the physical city of Jerusalem as a metaphor for the sacred nature, the holiness, of the city. The text briefly tells the stories of King Solomon building his temple the future foundation of today’s synagogues, a star announcing Christ’s birth as well as Christ’s later crucifixion on the site which now holds a church, and Mohammed ascending to heaven where there is now a mosque. While the landmarks are not named, their descriptions are such that adults will know them. Finally, Podwal appeals for peace as all in the city pray to one God and ultimately none can truly own it.

The illustrations are soft but colorful impressionistic pastels all of which draw the viewer’s eyes up the page toward the sky. They not only illustrate the text but also weave a peaceful vision of what has been and what can be.

Readers may enjoy bringing, showing, and discussing symbols of their own faiths. With older children, this book could be used as a springboard for researching the major stories of a faith that is not their own.

Other nonfiction books about religion for children:
Bueller, Laura. A FAITH LIKE MINE. ISBN 0756611776
Hoffman, Lawrence A. WHAT YOU WILL SEE INSIDE A SYNAGOGUE. ISBN 1594730121
Khan, Aisha Karen. WHAT YOU WILL SEE INSIDE A MOSQUE. ISBN 1893361608
Osborne, Mary P. ONE WORLD, MANY RELIGIONS. ISBN 0679839305

By Terri Moore

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