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Crusades: Kids at the Crossroads
     

Crusades: Kids at the Crossroads

by Laura Scandiffio, Tina Holdcroft (Illustrator)
 

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What if kids kept blogs during pivotal moments in world history?

The Internet offers modern kids amazing ways to express themselves and learn about the world. Imagine if the same technology had been available to children during dramatic episodes in history. Welcome to the Kids at the Crossroads series.

Each book is written as an Internet journal,

Overview

What if kids kept blogs during pivotal moments in world history?

The Internet offers modern kids amazing ways to express themselves and learn about the world. Imagine if the same technology had been available to children during dramatic episodes in history. Welcome to the Kids at the Crossroads series.

Each book is written as an Internet journal, including illustrated snapshots of the action and "links" to sidebar windows providing facts about and images of the era. This innovative blend of history and high-tech storytelling is sure to capture the attention of web junkies and history buffs alike.

Crusades: Kids at the Crossroads logs you on to the blog of 12-year-old Hans, who is destined to march in the 13th-century Children's Crusade. Restless with his duties in his father's wheelwright shop, Hans longs to follow his older brother, Otto, who joined a crusade to the Holy Land two years earlier and hasn't been heard from since. When a mysterious stranger appears in the night and describes new troubles stirring, Hans sees his chance to go after his brother.

Soon Hans has joined thousands of young people, led by the charismatic Nicholas, on a march across Europe. But the journey is more perilous than anyone realized. As the dangers rise, morale plummets, and the crusade breaks apart. Hans perseveres to the Holy Land and to a bittersweet reunion with his wounded brother.

With its innovative blog style, nail-biting storyline and info-packed sidebars about the actual Children's Crusade, Crusades: Kids at the Crossroads is historical fiction at its high-tech best.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist - Ian Chapman
You certainly can't fault the Kids at the Crossroads series for a lack of originality. The idea is that you're reading (in series nonfiction book form, complete with side boxes, illustrations, and maps) a kid's blog from different historical eras, in this case, the summer of 1212... offering an insider's view of history as it happens.... Here, the blog entries follow 12-year-old Hans as he embarks on what would become known as the Children's Crusade. He falls under the sway of the charismatic leader Nicholas, but Hans mostly just wants to reunite with his older brother in the Holy Land. Hyperlinks lead to side boxes that can, much like a traipse through the real Internet, disorient from the main thread. Though the pace lags at times, this wily blend of fiction and information makes for a most unusual history lesson.
Metro Family Magazine (Oklahoma)
(reviewed with Aztec) These clever books tell historically accurate stories in a modern blog-style format. Aztec is about a boy living in the Aztec civilization circa 1519. Crusades tells the story of a boy destined to march in the children's crusade. The format engages young readers and makes the historical tales more accessible.
Canadian Materials Reviews
Crusades...is a masterpiece of genius. This book is a must-have for any grade 4-6 classroom shelf.
CM Magazine
Crusades...is a masterpiece of genius. This book is a must-have for any grade 4-6 classroom shelf.
Dayton Daily News - Vicki Mickunas
This gorgeous volume will appeal to fans who crave information on current stars in both leagues. There are lots of statistical highlights and full color photos.
VOYA - Meghan Isaac
History and fiction blend in uncomfortable ways in the account of the Children's Crusade of 1212. In journal entries designed to mirror a blog, twelve-year-old Hans recounts his decision to leave his German village and join a band of young people led by the charismatic Nicholas. Unlike other crusaders, Nicholas claims they will win Muslims to Christianity through the strength of faith rather than arms. As they travel through the summer, Hans suffers doubts, forms friendships, and hides his secret ambition to reunite with his older brother, who left to join the crusades years earlier. Although an endnote explains that it is hard to know which events recorded under different accounts of the Children's Crusade are true, it fails to capture the complexity of the sources and the alternative explanations for this event. Sidebars and inset text boxes provide much more reliable information about medieval life, the practices of crusaders, political conflicts, and religious life, but the distinction between facts and imaginative reconstructions of history are not nearly well enough distinguished in this volume. The format of the Kids @ the Crossroads series is also difficult to navigate. Hans' "blog" includes "hyperlinks" designed to draw readers out of the tale and toward various text boxes and illustrations. Although these additional sources of information grow less frequent as the tale unfolds, the interruptions are distracting. Rather than replicating the fluid movement of an online text, this series merely seems poorly designed. Reviewer: Meghan Isaac

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554511464
Publisher:
Annick Press, Limited
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Series:
Kids at the Crossroads Series
Pages:
72
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

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Meet the Author

Laura Scandiffio is the award-winning author of Escapes! and The Martial Arts Book. She lives in Toronto.

John Mantha has illustrated more than a dozen books, including The Siege: Under Attack in Renaissance Europe. He lives in Toronto.

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