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Posts tagged Simonetta Carr

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"John Knox" by Simonetta Carr (RHB, 2014)

I was not obligated to write a positive review in exchange for the complimentary copy provided by Reformation Heritage Books–ALTHOUGH BEFORE I READ IT I KNEW I WOULD. I’ve come to trust Simonetta Carr’s books the way you trust Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies.

 As expected, this is a great, and highly recommended book for at least three reasons.

 1. A Great Character. The life of John Knox has all the ingredients to make for some great reading: Courage, conviction, love, loss, intrigue, blunder, and triumph. Knox was right at the center of tremendous upheaval of church and state during a critical juncture in the history of Western Europe. As a major player in the Protestant Reformation, he was also passionate and active, imitable yet flawed. Of all the noteworthy traits that made John Knox, one that speaks resoundingly to our apathetic generation is his keen sense that every part of life is profoundly important. The gospel of free grace in Christ animated his spirit and left no place for lethargic indifference.


2. Great Writing. My hunch is that far less research goes into many historical biographies of greater length, and for older audiences. Good biographies are true–not only true in general–but true in the details. And Simonetta’s biographies get the stories right! At the same time, her clear and crisp writing tell the story well without becoming pedantic. John Knox, like the previous books in Christian Biographies for Young Readers is appropriate for children but not cuddly. By dealing with difficult issues with care and courage, the author prods kids to ask hard questions about difficult subjects: “Was it right for the Protestants to kill Cardinal Beaton for his treacherous leadership? If I were in Knox’ position would I have spent my free time revising a religious book instead of earning money to feed myself? Does God sanction female leadership in the civic sphere?” When is the last time children–or their parents–were prompted to ask these kinds of questions?

 3. Great Visual Appeal. Like all the books in this series, the images in John Knox are both informative, and evocative. There is a good blend of contemporary photographs and paintings, as well as period art. I take it as a compliment to artist Matt Abraxas that one of my kids thought his painting of Knox seated pensively in a rowboat crossing the English Channel looked “scary.” It should look scary. It depicts a man with a price on his head reluctantly leaving the people he loved, for an uncertain future. Some books are strong on style but weak on substance, or vice versa. This book excels in both.

 The author’s careful attention to detail and the artist’s passion-infused windows into Knox’s world are packaged in a stunning layout that gives the book a timeless feel. It is hard to imagine seeing a new illustrated juvenile biography of John Knox on the market again for a long time. It’s even harder to imagine a better one.

Filed under Christian Biographies for Young Readers young adult lit john knox Simonetta Carr scotland reformation

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Here’s a short video on the intriguing life of Olympia Morata (1526-1555) made by a 3, 4, 6, and 32 year old.

Here are the lyrics:

Olympia Morata was born in 1526 in Ferrara, Italy. Her Father Fulvio helped to give her a very good education and to love and trust the God of Scripture. By age 12 she could speak Latin and Greek as well as Italian. When she was thirteen she entered an Italian court to educate the daughter of the duke and duchess of Este.

Olympia lived at court for eight years until her Father became ill. After Fulvio’s death Olympia returned to court only to find that she was no longer wanted.

In her twenty-fourth year, Olympia married Andreas Grunthler, a German doctor. Because of the dangers Protestants faced in Italy in the sixteenth century, Olympia and Andreas moved to Germany shortly after their marriage.

After a few happy years their town of Schweinfurt was occupied by the army of a German noble. Andreas worked tirelessly to help the injured soldiers and the plague infected citizens. The next year Schweinfurt was besieged and destroyed. Andreas and Olympia barely escape with their lives to Heidelberg Germany. Olympia, greatly weakened by consumption, died on October 26, 1555.

To find out more about Olympia’s life you can read “Weight of a Flame: The Passion of Olympia Morata” published by P&R

Filed under Italian Reformation Christian Biography Simonetta Carr P&R Chosen Daughters series

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Here’s a trailer from the soon-to-be-available children’s book on Athanasius by Simonetta Carr.

Product Description

A complex and fascinating character, Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, is best remembered as the Father of Orthodoxy, upholding the doctrine of the Trinity against the Arian heresy. In the newest addition to the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series, author Simonetta Carr introduces children to the life and times of this important church father who tirelessly defended the Nicene Creed, which many of us today recite as a confession of our faith. Born during the Great Persecution, forced five times to leave his church and city, and constantly threatened by those who tried to ruin his reputation, Athanasius provides an example of godly faithfulness. Beautiful illustrations and a winsome, simply written narrative will bring the Nicene Creed to life for children of all ages, prompting relevant discussions on the divinity of Christ and the importance of creeds and confessions.

The book is available from the publisher (Reformation Heritage Books) now.

Look forward for a review of this book on this site in the next month or so.

Filed under Simonetta Carr Biographies for Children Church History Athanasius Church Fathers