Friday, March 20, 2015

Two new reviews this week

Caravaggio was recently featured as Book of the Month for March at Professor Owl's Book Corner, and received a review in BC BookWorld in its Spring 2015 issue (p. 28). Take a look!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Nice Review in Sal's Fiction Addiction

Sally Bender has been "a kindergarten teacher, a primary teacher, a teacher-librarian, a book reviewer and a workshop presenter for more than 30 years," and recently reviewed Caravaggio: Signed in Blood for her blog, Sal's Fiction Addiction. Here's an excerpt:

[Mark David Smith] has much to share, and does it in a way that allows us a clear look at a complex artist and his work, while never overpowering his story with too much information. We come away from the reading with knowledge of a life very different from our own, knowing a great deal more about the customs of Italy so long ago, and with elegant quotations we might add to our own gathering list.
Please visit her blog, and read the full review. While you're there, check out her other reviews as well. She reviews books for children of all ages.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

BC Book Prizes: Shortlists announced!

Congratulations to fellow CWILL members Elizabeth Stewart, Maggie DeVries, Eileen Kernaghan, Becky Citra, Chieri Uegaki, Ashley Spires, Caroline Adderson, Heather Tekavec, and fellow Tradewind Books authors Roy and Slavia Miki on being shortlisted for the BC Book Prizes. Winners will be announced on April 25, 2015.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Caravaggio and the Counter-Reformation

Here's some insight into Caravaggio's importance to the Counter-Reformation. His style wasn't simply new, it was timely.
The Taking of Christ, by Caravaggio, 1602
"The Jesuits, founded by Ignatius Loyola in 1534, were central to the Counter- Reformation, and Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, with its emphasis on achieving a mystical, personal relationship with God through a meditative immersion in the life of Christ, was important in indicating an appropriate artistic approach. In particular, the mystical was grounded in the corporeal, as experienced through the five senses. Hence the heightened, dramatised realism of the baroque, and its close attention to vivid, immediate detail. Caravaggio was a key figure in devising this revolutionary style.

While the Reformation had reacted to the “idolatrous” depictions of the saints and downgraded their role – triggering not just the removal of paintings and statuary from public display but in many cases their physical destruction – the Counter-Reformation took a different corrective approach. So long as the painting reflected the documented life of the subject, and kept within certain bounds of correctness, artists were free to represent the saints as exemplary champions of the faith. And the more convincingly, physically real it was the better, a road that may have led eventually to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. The Catholic Church, in other words, had a sound grasp of the importance of images."
See the whole article in the Irish Times.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Burnaby Grade 7 Public Speaking Challenge

I had the honour of hosting the Burnaby School District's Public Speaking Competition this evening. Wow. The talent and maturity of these 8 seventh-grade finalists was astonishing. Zuzanna Liniewski, pictured below, won with a speech about being different (the theme was "Let's Think Differently") which was as candid as it was lyrical. An absolute pleasure to listen to. Each of the finalists and judges received a copy of my book, courtesy of the District.

Congratulations to you, Zuzanna, and to all the other finalists.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CWILL panel at the VPL last night

I had a great time meeting with some of my fellow CWILL authors at the VPL's panel discussion on Writing and Illustrating Children's Books. We shared our experiences on entering the world of writing and publishing for children, and it was educational for me to learn from the diverse expertise among the panel members. Want to read some fine books? Check out each author's website below.
Ellen Schwartz, Sheri Radford, Kallie George, Claire Eamer, Me, Sara Leach, and Silvana Goldemberg