Jerusalem Sky: Stars, Crosses and Crescents

Overview

Jerusalem?ancient home to Jews, Christians, and Muslims?is blanketed by a sky like no other. According to legend, the Jerusalem sky held off the rains for seven years while King Solomon built his temple. In the Jerusalem sky, the Bible tells us, a rising star announced the birth of Jesus. Through that same wondrous sky, Islamic belief holds, Muhammad climbed to heaven. In our own times, the Jerusalem sky fills with the sounds of worshippers praying for peace in the synagogues, churches, and mosques below. And ...
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Overview

Jerusalem–ancient home to Jews, Christians, and Muslims–is blanketed by a sky like no other. According to legend, the Jerusalem sky held off the rains for seven years while King Solomon built his temple. In the Jerusalem sky, the Bible tells us, a rising star announced the birth of Jesus. Through that same wondrous sky, Islamic belief holds, Muhammad climbed to heaven. In our own times, the Jerusalem sky fills with the sounds of worshippers praying for peace in the synagogues, churches, and mosques below. And each year new voices rise up to the Jerusalem sky, where so many miracles have been witnessed.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jerusalem's status as the holiest city to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, has long made it a battleground. But Podwal (A Sweet Year) uses lyrical language and radiant paintings to go to the heart of what makes this sacred place so special. He incorporates the unique role of the sky in Jerusalem's history, whose history also traces the three religions born here, symbolized by the star, cross and moon/crescent. A star in the sky announced Jesus' birth; the Jerusalem skies did not rain during daylight for seven years so that the great Jewish temple could be built, and Muhammad rode through the sky "on a flying horse,/ then reached heaven/ on a stairway of light." Jerusalem is also believed by some to be the origin of every breeze, cloud, rainbow and sunrise on Earth. Thought-provoking, inspirational and informative, Podwal's text is buoyed by stylish, energetically textured paintings in vibrant hues. Readers will be left pondering Podwal's overarching idea: "Perhaps possessing Jerusalem is like trying to own the sky." All ages. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This lovely book of poetry expresses through myth, symbol, and metaphor the desire for peace in a war-torn land. The brightly painted pictures show symbols of the three religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—which claim Jerusalem as an important place of worship. Stars of David, crosses, and crescents on top of towers reach into the sky. Each religion relates miracles in the sky which becomes a harmonizing medium. The text states that, "Perhaps possessing Jerusalem is like trying to own the sky." A triple rainbow above the skyline is a symbol of hope. The author is a physician who has art work in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other museums. With the help of parents and teachers, young readers can learn, through poetry and art, respect and understanding for the religious expressions of others. 2005, A Doubleday Book for Young Readers/Random House Children's Books, Ages 7 to 9.
—Carlee Hallman
School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up-Podwal has paired a brief poetic text with skillfully composed and executed abstract impressionist paintings that show the beauty and sacredness of the ancient city and its importance to the three major religions that are rooted there. In simply worded statements-one or two sentences per page-he recounts the lore of this "City of Peace" that has been fought over since ancient times. ("Perhaps possessing Jerusalem/is like trying to own the sky"). Text pages face paintings in eye-catching shades of fiery orange and blue. The art features holy places of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim peoples. This lovely, inspirational book, best read aloud by an adult voice, could lead to discussion of Jerusalem's history and the current situation there, and, perhaps, to further study of the three religions.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Thickly applied paint in vivid hues and fanciful, striking images lend an otherworldly perspective to the illustrations that accompany the poetic text that celebrates the richness of Jerusalem and its history as the holy city of some of the world's religions. Weaving legends and stories from Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the author/illustrator hopes to bring a sense of unity to this embattled city. While it may speak more strongly to adults, the unusual paintings and the brevity and simple power of the text make this a choice for reading aloud in programs and homes that wish to emphasize religious tolerance. A line like, "Perhaps possessing Jerusalem / is like trying to own the sky" demonstrates the impossibility of the situation, but the very next page (the last) speaks of the "people from everywhere / every day gather in the city . . . and with prayers for peace and miracles, / all addressed to one God, hope lights the Jerusalem sky." A cut above the didactic books on this topic. (bibliography for adults) (Poetry. All ages)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385746892
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/23/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 months - 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 8.37 (w) x 10.42 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Podwal is the author and illustrator of numerous books, including A Sweet Year. His art has appeared in publications such as The New York Times. He lives in New York City.
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