Child's Book of Prayer in Art

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Overview

Sister Wendy Beckett believes that prayer is a dialogue with God, and that listening is as important as talking to God. "Looing at art is one way of listening to God."

In this, her first book for children, Sister Wendy has selected paintings that can speak to children, illustrating the important values of life, such as love, respect and forgiveness. She helps children to look and listen, gaining insight into art while developing a greater ...

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Overview

Sister Wendy Beckett believes that prayer is a dialogue with God, and that listening is as important as talking to God. "Looing at art is one way of listening to God."

In this, her first book for children, Sister Wendy has selected paintings that can speak to children, illustrating the important values of life, such as love, respect and forgiveness. She helps children to look and listen, gaining insight into art while developing a greater understanding of their own spirituality. This is a book of discovery and dialogue for all religions.

Author Biography: Sister Wendy Beckett is a member of the Notre Dame order, a teaching order of nuns. She studied for her degree in English at St. Anne's College, Oxford where she graduated with highest honors. After teaching in South Africa, she returned to England in 1970 to live a fully contemplative life under the protection of a Carmelite monastery in Norfolk, where she lives in seclusion to this day. A lifelong art lover and recognized art historian, Sister Wendy began serious study of the subject in 1980. She writes for many art magazines and her wildly popular BBC television series, Sister Wendy's Odyssey, Sister Wendy's Grand Tour, and Sister Wendy's Story of Painting are seen on PBS.

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Editorial Reviews

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Sister Wendy Beckett's first book for children, A Child's Book of Prayer in Art, combines art appreciation with prayer for the young reader. Selected for their clear depictions of simple themes, the paintings chosen illuminate original prayers written by Sister Wendy for children to express particular thoughts to God. Includes an introduction by the author, as well as a note to parents and teachers. More than 15 full-color reproductions.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-Sister Wendy, a TV personality in Britain, shows that art and religion are still mutually illuminating on the page as well as on the screen. Here, for each of a dozen works of art, she finds a moral quality to commend. Ghirlandaio's painting of a child looking raptly up into the face of an old man with a warty nose, for example, is taken by Sister Wendy to illustrate ``love.'' The other qualities covered are respect, family, understanding, learning, forgiveness, choosing heaven, true happiness, thinking, determination, selflessness, and listening. In each case, the verso shows the whole picture; on the right are two sections of it, slightly enlarged. Two chunks of black type present Sr. Wendy's description of the painting and reflection on its moral lesson. In the center of the page is a block of large red type in quotation marks: a prayer, requesting that the petitioner be able to act on this particular moral principle. Every one is a prayer of petition for the child's own moral character: there are no prayers of glorification, thanksgiving, contrition, etc. All of the art, whether overtly religious (i.e., Christian) or secular, is turned to a specifically religious purpose. No one could reasonably object either to the sterling qualities showcased, or to the lovely reproductions. However, the didactic aims of this book are obvious. Adults who feel that this sort of didacticism-teaching virtue-is just what kids need will love this book. Those who may feel that art is its own excuse for being can still enjoy the pictures.-Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Shelley Townsend-Hudson
Linking the work of 15 different artists, from Michelangelo to Millet, to a spiritual value such as respect or forgiveness, "Sister Wendy Beckett introduces children to art as a means of discovering faith. She contends that "looking at art is one way of listening to God," and her text reveals that neither looking at art nor listening to God is a passive activity. She even suggests that adults not "sincerely trying to live in love and truth" themselves refrain from discussing the ideas presented with children, who "learn more from what we are than from what we say." Each oversize, double-page spread presents a large painting, two enlarged details, and brief description and commentary, with a lovely, simple prayer appearing midpage in big, red type. The commentary is insightful and wise. Beckett's evaluation of Millet's "Seated Shepherdess", for example, communicates the shepherd girl's poverty and isolation as well as her apparent contentedness while it emphasizes the need for quiet times to think and to make choices that matter. "Nobody can tell us how to live," Beckett writes. "We all have to" work out the wisest way for ourselves. God waits to help us . . . ." With appeal to older as well as middle readers, this is a remarkable book, not only for its innate spirituality and wisdom, but also for its harmonious partnership of great art and astute interpretation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564588753
  • Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Series: Sister Wendy Beckett Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 months - 17 years
  • Product dimensions: 9.22 (w) x 11.96 (h) x 0.42 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2000

    Beautiful!

    A beautiful way to introduce children to great art as well as to God's word. Very simple, yet profound.

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