Simonetta Carr has established herself as one with something of a vocation to introduce children and teenagers to some of the heroes of the Church. She has so far penned delightful and informative children’s books on Athanasius, Augustine, John Calvin and John Owen (as part of the ‘Christian Biographies for Young Readers’ series published by Reformation Heritage Books and aimed at children from 7 to 10 years of age). In her latest book, a fictionalised biography titled Weight of a Flame (P&R Publishing, 2011) she introduces ‘young readers’ (read teenagers) to the inspiring ‘Italian Heretic’ Olympia Morata (1526–1555), locating Morata in her social and religious context – a volatile sixteenth-century Europe – and highlighting her passion for Scripture, for Calvin’s Institutes, for scholarship (she lectured on Cicero, wrote commentaries on Homer, and was one of the most sophisticated Latin stylists of her time), for poetry, and for faith. Those seeking Morata for grown-ups should read Morata’s work first hand (published as The Complete Writings of an Italian Heretic and edited by Holt N. Parker) and the relevant chapter in Roland Bainton’s Women of the Reformation: In Germany and Italy. (There are also published studies by Jules Bonnet, Amelia Gillespie Smyth, Ottilie Wildermuth, Caroline Bowles Southey, Robert Turnbull.) But for Carr’s target audience, this book is the only one I know of on Morata. It’s just a pity that the book’s cover (by which all books are judged) is so suggestive of an advertising brochure for some exclusive and now-outdated ‘college for young, strong and self-reliant ladies’.
Here’s a wee video of Simonetta introducing Weight of a Flame:
And another produced by the Boekestein kids (all under 7) after reading Simonetta’s book: