Jerusalem Sky: Stars, Crosses, and Crescents

Common Sense Media says

Lovely poem about Jerusalem and its religions.





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's nothing of concern here -- this book is a lyrical message of peace and tolerance. Children may be inspired to research the city and its religions.

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What's the story?

In paintings and brief, free-verse poetry, author and artist Mark Podwal describes Jerusalem, some of its religious history, and some of its legends. He tells of the burning of the Jewish temple, the death of Jesus, and the ascent of Muhammad, and of the monuments to each that remain in Jerusalem today.

Is it any good?


The text is lovely -- simple, gentle, merely hinting at the great mysteries behind the beliefs and legends. It only hints at the fighting and discord that rack the city now. The author focuses on the beauty of the city, and the hope engendered by a place where the three major monotheistic religions of the modern world "meet under the Jerusalem sky and merge their shadows."

The accompanying paintings, while beautiful, may not be as appealing to children as they are to adults. They are semi-abstract, impressionist renderings, lacking the kind of detail that draws kids to spend time poring over them. But the pictures and text make for an appealing book with an important, and nicely subtle, message.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the history of Jerusalem, the three major religions that claim it as a holy place, and its impact on the modern world.

Book details

Author:Mark H. Podwal
Illustrator:Mark H. Podwal
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:Random House
Publication date:January 4, 2006
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 11
Read aloud:6
Read alone:7

This review of Jerusalem Sky: Stars, Crosses, and Crescents was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byavidcritc April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

meet under the jerusalem sky and merge their shadows?

i've never read the book but that makes it sound like israel combines arabs, jews and christians and they all live seamlessly and peacefully together. that is so out of touch with reality.


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