Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Traveling to Renaissance Italy Today! WOW! Favorite for 2016!

Got to say immediately that I picked this book to add to my 2016 Favorites. It is based upon the quality of the book for older children, and adults, the special details of the content and presentation, and the beautiful art work representative of Renaissance Italy. Wouldn't it have been wonderful to have lived during a period when artists of every variety were welcomed and applauded...From Architects to the single Lute player, they were there providing their special skills to make the world a more beautiful place, in all ways...

First, let me point out that the quality of the above picture does not match the real book. The colors are brilliant, bright--so attractive to the eye. And, of course, the clothes that were worn at that time were so beautiful, we would think that they were dressed up to go to the ball.  Of course, it is true that these clothes were worn by the more well-to-do, but still the style and design of their clothes were...just elegant, don't you think?!

Next, the printing...not just the plain old paragraph after paragraph! The words combine a rich combination of lines being centered along with those totally blocked. To someone who have used both the typewriter and computer to create such varieties to make the words stand out, I applaud this notably attractive addition which makes the entire book a truly outstanding library-quality storybook worthy to be kept for generations to come!

There are two different illustrators, Silvia Brunetti and Kelsea Wierenga, who should be commended for their wonderful contributions to the book. Colors are beautifully coordinated--but I should stop and start talking about the words where obviously took much research.  There are details so involved in daily life at that time, that most people will have never known or even thought about them! For instance, each type of "cosmetic" used by women were defined! Notice that the author always addresses her writing to her readers...the children...

You had a pretty little cap decorated with gold chains, jewels, and feathers. It seemed a shame to cover the elegant hairstyle that you maid took hours to prepare. Your long dark hair was rolled and braided so the heavy mass stayed in one place on your head. You wished your parents would let you bleach your hair blond like Mama's, but they said you weren't allowed until you were married. Mama's hair was so light, she looked like the angels the artists painted on the walls of the church. She carefully plucked out the hair on her hairline so that her foreheads looked wide. All the stylish ladies painted their faces white with lead powder so they looked pale and elegant. Some people said the lead was not healthy, but beauty was more important than anything. Ground mother of pearl made a beautiful iridescent powder for Mama's eyelids. You loved to watch her dab her lips with vermillion, a stain made from a red rock to make them bright red...

Of course, as we would expect, the women were not citizens of the country and had no rights except to learn the home and social graces, which did include the arts...thankfully...

The book begins by an overview of the time preceding the Renaissance and then, along with a charming town village scene of joy, happiness, art and singing, discusses how it started.

It was an exciting time. Life was changing from art to literature. Architecture took on daring new styles. Science and astronomy were looked at from a new point of view. Exploration of places in the world brought back undiscovered spices, plants, and animals. People became rich from all the new products coming back.
A new class of people called merchants emerged. They made a lot of money and wanted to spend it on making their homes beautiful. They hired artiest to paint pictures in the newest styles. Many of these artists were born near your home. Tuscany became the birthplace of this new movement. Your city, Florence was known as "The Athens of the Middle Ages."

And then came the more famous artists such as DaVinci and Michelangelo...and so many others.

Mona Lisa
Moses - Michelangelo

Of course, it was also interesting to learn of their home, the palazzo. The book even had a line drawing showing the various rooms and layouts...with, to my surprise, the kitchen on the top floor! Yes, it was hot and would be inconvenient for us today, but then, they had servants who also lived on that top floor. At that time, it was often that the shop or business run by "Papa" was on the first floor front...

One final piece of info I found very intriguing was that when eating, the child always ate with another person, from the same plate... I imagined that this started when the child first began eating, but continued on into later life for companionship?

A new dance was devised, and you learned the steps so you
shined the best when you performed the ballet with your
partners. The strange stringed instrument called the violin,
invented by Andrea Amati, made you feel as though you
floated when you danced. You loved its rich
and mournful sound.
After the basic story comes a new section, "Why was the Renaissance so important to art?" which hones in on several artists who actually shaped this time period and includes examples of their work, while discussing the components of their work including perspective, balance and proportion, etc.

Directly thereafter is a small gallery of the famous people from Italy, some of whom were already presented and some not. For instance, included among many others, is Artemisia Gentileschi, who painted beautiful paintings and many others, who was trained by her father when all the art academies refused to allow her to study because she was a woman... And, of course, the important Glossary follows!

Extraordinary book suitable for all, but aimed toward older students who would be studying the Renaissance at school. Those interested in Renaissance in Italy would be especially pleased to see such a book for children and grandchildren! Highly recommended!


Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012 for her first book, award winning author Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons. Using an imaginary game she played with her grandson as a base, Captain No Beard was born."Captain No Beard- An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life" has not only been named to Kirkus Best of 2012, it received the Star of Exceptional Merit, and won the Pinnacle Award for 2012. "Pepper Parrot's Problem with Patience" Book 2 in the series, received 5 Stars from The ForeWord Review The Clarion Review. Strangers on the High Seas has won second place in the Rebecca's Reads Choice Awards 2013. It has followed with six more books to the series. This year, Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis was named to Kirkus Best 2015. The entire cultural non-fiction series If You Were Me and Lived in... was named Best Series by Shelf Unbound. She has begun work on two new series that will be released in early 2016.
Motivated by her love of yoga, Roman has written a book that not only teaches four poses, but shows how easy and accessible yoga can be. 
Her new non fiction series, "If You Were Me and Lived in..." combines her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us. The debut book in the series, "If You Were Me and Lived in...Mexico" has won the Pinnacle Award for Best in Children's Non Fiction 2012. France, South Korea, and Norway. Rebecca's Reads has given If You Were Me and Lived in...Norway an honorable mention in the 2013 Choice Awards. If You Were Me and lived in ...France won second place. ForeWord Review has nominated If You Were Me and Lived in...France for best in children's non fiction literature 2013. They will be followed with Kenya, Turkey, India, and Australia. She plans to do Portugal, Greece, and Argentina next year.
Writing for children has opened up a whole second act for her. While she is still working in her family business, this has enabled her to share her sense of humor as well as love for history and culture with the audience she adores. Roman lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children.

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