"Reminders of heaven."
"Theology in color."
Icons have been called all these things. Most of us are familiar with the Gospel verses where Jesus says,
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
Iconography as God's Word in art is a "window to heaven" that helps us to experience the mystery of God and his truths in the way children do: through our eyes and hearts.
Sacred images have long played a part in teaching Christians about their faith. In the earliest days, icons of the Church were a means of depicting Gospel events to Christians who may not have been able to read the Gospel themselves.
In A Gift for Matthew, a boy visits a peaceful monastery with his mother. He meets the monastery cat, and learns from a kind monk, Brother Justin, what actually goes into painting - or "writing" - an icon.
As he helps the monk, Matthew discovers the symbolism behind the thin sheets of gold leaf and the egg tempera paints that are used; how prayer and layers of color are an integral part of icon painting; and that we can accomplish much with a quiet heart and patience.
I learned a lot about iconography from this book, and so will your child! It's great for any age, but it will become a special treasure for children between the ages of 4-8 who love to draw, sketch, or paint, and for anyone who is drawn to the beauty of holy icons.
Masha Lobastov's warm and rich illustrations are a lovely accompaniment to Nick Muzekari's thoughtful and engaging story. Kids will love the monastery cat, and enjoy the satisfying ending when Matthew receives a surprise gift from the monk!
To enter my giveaway for this unique book, A Gift For Matthew, please leave a comment at the end of this post by midnight (PST) Friday, October 2, 2015. A winner will be chosen from a random drawing (I use list randomizer from random.org) on Saturday, October 3, 2015.
Go here to see a digital preview and trailer of A Gift For Matthew. You can read more about icons and iconography in this article.