Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 15
- Reading age: 12 to 15
Short-listed for the 2012 Coast Reads
Avi Greenbaum is Jewish and lives in West Jerusalem. Moussa Shakir is Palestinian and lives in East Jerusalem. Both are 15 years old, live without their fathers, adore their older brothers, and belong to the same soccer club. Avi commemorates the Holocaust and celebrates Israeli independence, while Moussa mourns on Nakba Day, marking the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948. Their lives are parallel lines: they have everything in common and nothing at all. Each is oblivious to the others existence.
As Avi and Moussa go about their daily routines in the spring of 2006, they face reminders of the conflict that has dogged the region for the past three generations the security wall, suicide bombings, police operations, and the looming shadow of war. While navigating this legacy of suspicion and violence, they must decide what their own roles in the stalemate will be.
About the author
Nicholas Maes is a high-school history teacher and also teaches classics at the University of Waterloo. His previous novels for young people are Crescent Star, Locksmith and Laughing Wolf, which was nominated for the Snow Willow Award. Maes is also the author of Robertson Davies: Magician of Words. He lives in Toronto.
- Short-listed, Coast Reads
Maes helps readers decipher some of the puzzle that is the Arab-Israeli conflict by introducing them to Hamas and Hezbollah, familiarizing them with places such as Gaza and Lebanon, and providing a glossary of both Arabic and Hebrew words which are used throughout the book. He has a gift for vivid description which places readers in a world which is foreign both politically and geographically and yet which illustrates both the best and the worst of the human condition.
"Maes has taken this topic and made it come to life in a way that readers will appreciate."
"Crescent Star paints a vivid portrait of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and does so in a fair and sympathetic way. At the same time, both Avid and Moussa are depicted as typical questioning teens, unsure if the path their parents have laid out is right for them. The only difference is, instead of fighting their parents for more personal freedom at home, theyre preparing to wage war in the streets."
Quill and Quire
"Maes also does an excellent job of keeping the authors voice neutral, allowing his characters to act as guides for the reader. Through their eyes, readers discover there are many shades of grey to every conflict, and gain deeper insight into why each side feels as they do.This is not an easy topic to tackle, and it is handled with exceptional fairness and eloquence in Crescent Star."
Canadian Childrens Book News
Crescent StarAvi Greenbaum is Jewish and lives in West Jerusalem. Moussa Shakir is Palestinian and lives in East Jerusalem. Their lives are parallel, but each is oblivious to the other’s existence. When their soccer teams play each other in what their coaches hope will be a step in the direction of peace, they must navigate this legacy of suspicion and violence and decide what their own roles in the stalemate will be.
In his latest novel for young adults, Toronto author Nicholas Maes offers readers a different perspective on the conflict in Israel, told from the alternating perspectives of Avi and Moussa. Both characters are equally well fleshed out and sympathetic, and Maes does an excellent job of highlighting the similarities between the boys despite their different cultures. They have both recently turned 15. Both have absent fathers, older brothers in the army and sisters who are about to be married. Both play soccer. Both also question their own courage and resolve to eventually take their place among the soldiers and “to do what men do.” Throughout the novel, the boys’ respective soccer teams face each other in a series of “friendly” matches, but with each match, tensions both on and off the field escalate, mirroring the escalating conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Maes also does an excellent job of keeping the author’s voice neutral, allowing his characters to act as guides for the reader. Through their eyes, readers discover that there are many shades of grey to every conflict, and gain deeper insight into why each side feels as they do. There is a lot of deep emotion and feelings tied up in the war, and even among their classmates, the boys encounter different and extreme points of view. Neither boy’s mind is set in stone; they question, and wonder like any teenager. While they know innately that there should be peace, they simply can’t bring themselves to believe that it is possible.
This is not an easy topic to tackle, and it is handled with exceptional fairness and eloquence in Crescent Star. For independent reading, the book would work best with high school students, but would also be an excellent discussion book with junior high and high school readers. Highly recommended.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2011. Volume 34 No. 2.
Crescent StarAvi Greenbaum is Jewish and lives in West Jerusalem. Moussa Shakir is Palestinian and lives in East Jerusalem. Both are 15 years old, fatherless and soccer players. In 2006, they are reminded of the conflict that has hung over the region for three generations. When their soccer teams face off against each other, their coaches hope the game will be a step in the direction of peace.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.
Other titles by Nicholas Maes
Canadian Scholars Bundle
Lucille Teasdale / Robertson Davies / George Grant / Marshall McLuhan
Canadian Literary Bundle
Susanna Moodie / Gabrielle Roy / Robertson Davies / Mazo de la Roche
Quest Biographies Bundle — Books 21–30
Louis Riel / James Wilson Morrice / Vilhjalmur Stefansson / Robertson Davies / James Douglas / William C. Van Horne / George Simpson / Tom Thomson / Simon Girty / Mary Pickford
Quest Biographies Bundle — Books 21–25
Louis Riel / James Wilson Morrice / Vilhjalmur Stefansson / Robertson Davies / James Douglas
A Felix Taylor Adventure
Felix Taylor Adventures 2-Book Bundle
Laughing Wolf / Fortuna
Locksmith Teachers' Guide
Dundurn Teachers' Guide
Magician of Words