Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Focus guide!!! Crispin: Cross of Lead

I am really excited about this new focus guide from Total Language Plus!  Several years ago I read Crispin: Cross of Lead by Avi on the recommendation of our local Children’s Librarian and I was really impressed.  For those of you that know me I happen to be somewhat of a literature snob, I will admit it.  

When I take the time to read a book I want a well written story, with rich vocabulary and rising action to hold your interest.  I like great descriptions that let you “see” the scene and a fulfilling ending.  There’s probably more I look for but those are some of the things that really bother me when they are missing.  Crispin is well written, holds your attention and creates wonderful scenes along with rich vocabulary.  

The focus guide from TLP is finally here and now you can do a study of Crispin with your children and experience this wonderful book which makes a great addition to any study of the middle ages. 
The story itself takes place in 1377 England.  Our main character’s mother dies creating a search for his identity, you see he was only known as her son and does not even know his name.  As the story goes he is falsely accused, flees for his life and in the process tries to figure out who and what to trust.  He questions a lot and ends up figuring out “who” he is.  It certainly held my attention!

There are a lot of choices out there, some highly recommended for historical fiction on this time period, but I believe this is the best.  Of course that is subjective, feel free to leave your best choice in the comments, but I read some when we were doing medieval/middle ages that I was sure glad I previewed first!  Crispin was sure a bright spot in the midst of some mediocre novels that while doing the trick didn’t really excite.

One of the things I really like about the new Total Language Plus study guide is that it’s heavy in scripture.  As the student goes through the guide they are choosing from a short list of scriptures to not only memorize but also write about in a “letter” to Crispin.  This letter will relate how that scripture applies to what Crispin is going through at that time.  Love it!  I can’t wait to see the student’s writing!
We are doing this one in our next co-op session and I hope the students enjoy it as much as I did.  I truly am looking forward to reading their letters to Crispin.  Hopefully I’ll be able to let you read some excerpts here.

The TLP focus guide sells for $8.50 and is designed for 6th-8th graders with a focus on descriptive writing and identity.  It’s not available on the website yet but when it is I’ll update the link in the comments section.


  1. Hi Gina,

    It is now available online, along with Dragon's Blood. Here is the link: http://www.totallanguageplus.com/crispin.htm.

    Great review, by the way.


  2. Thanks, Jessica for the link!