A Gift for Matthew, hardcover edition

$18.95

Item No. 9781936270927

By Nick Muzekari, with illustrations by Masha Lobastov

Matthew is excited to visit a monastery. A monk there is teaching him to paint icons! Matthew learns about sketching images, mixing pigments, and painting all the layers of the sacred images. And when he gets home, he finds a surprise gift just for him.

About the author: Nick Muzekari is a writer who lives in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, with his wife and five children. He enjoys conveying truth, mystery, and beauty through story. One of his most recent writing projects was a literary/art magazine for Christian teens which he founded and published. This is his first picture book.

About the illustrator: Masha Lobastov is a classically educated figurative artist. She graduated from the Russian State University for Humanities of Moscow in 1996 and moved to the U.S. to continue her artistic goals. Mostly known for her portraiture, especially children’s portraits, Masha collaborated with Ancient Faith Publishing and the authors E.C. Johnson and Jane Meyer in bringing to life the books And Then Nicholas Sang, What Do You Hear, Angel? and The Hidden Garden. This is her fourth picture book.

 

Now available in paperback for only $12.95, see Item No. 9781944967376

 

Age Range: 3 - 12 years

Author: Nick Muzekari

Illustrator: Masha Lobastov

Format: Hardcover

Also available as an ebook

Dimensions: 8 X 10 inches

Page Length: 32 pages

Publisher: Ancient Faith Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-936270-92-7

Retail Price: $18.95

Sample this book

 

Interview 

 

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Description

Item No. 9781936270927

By Nick Muzekari, with illustrations by Masha Lobastov

Matthew is excited to visit a monastery. A monk there is teaching him to paint icons! Matthew learns about sketching images, mixing pigments, and painting all the layers of the sacred images. And when he gets home, he finds a surprise gift just for him.

About the author: Nick Muzekari is a writer who lives in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, with his wife and five children. He enjoys conveying truth, mystery, and beauty through story. One of his most recent writing projects was a literary/art magazine for Christian teens which he founded and published. This is his first picture book.

About the illustrator: Masha Lobastov is a classically educated figurative artist. She graduated from the Russian State University for Humanities of Moscow in 1996 and moved to the U.S. to continue her artistic goals. Mostly known for her portraiture, especially children’s portraits, Masha collaborated with Ancient Faith Publishing and the authors E.C. Johnson and Jane Meyer in bringing to life the books And Then Nicholas Sang, What Do You Hear, Angel? and The Hidden Garden. This is her fourth picture book.

 

Now available in paperback for only $12.95, see Item No. 9781944967376

 

Age Range: 3 - 12 years

Author: Nick Muzekari

Illustrator: Masha Lobastov

Format: Hardcover

Also available as an ebook

Dimensions: 8 X 10 inches

Page Length: 32 pages

Publisher: Ancient Faith Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-936270-92-7

Retail Price: $18.95

Sample this book

 

Interview 

 

Reviews (10)

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This book captures the joy of creating!

I’ll be honest. It was not a quick sell for me, “A Gift for Matthew”.

“But the illustrations are world class” I said to myself. And it’s a topic near and dear to me, ICONS; my career, my vocation, my ministry. Surely I can get on board with a book such as this.

But I had trouble being enthused.

You see, there are many ways to make an Orthodox Christian icon. The truth is there are factions within the Orthodox liturgical art world. I had concerns that this book was presenting a singular method of icon creation as representative of all methods. And this method is not necessarily mine.

But I didn’t give up on this book. I could see this book was made with pure love both in the writing and illustration. It was a book worth contemplating. Besides, how could I expect a single, simple, children’s book to encompass all the intricacies and varieties of Orthodox icon making, let alone my esoteric concerns!?

Then the epiphany struck that allows me to praise this book, whole heartedly. “A Gift for Matthew” captures a truth broader than any esoteric sub-faction squabble of iconographic methodology.

This book captures the joy of creating! Amen.
Matthew discovered the joy of being a creative being! Matthew’s discovery is a great and perfect thing! It’s a discovery readers might be nudged into themselves by reading “A Gift for Matthew”. I hope so!

We are all created in the image of our creator. Our Creator creates! We find our true selves when we find our own creativity...just as Matthew did!
Posted by Nick Pappas on 2nd Oct 2015

A Charming Story

“A Gift for Matthew,” the fruit of the collaboration of Nick Muzekari (author) and Masha Lobastov (illustrator), is a wonderful introduction to the world of iconography for a young audience.

My family and I have had the privilege of knowing Nick and his family for the past year or so through the Antiochian Orthodox parish of St. Philip’s Church (Souderton, PA). As relatively recent, yet serious inquirers into Orthodoxy, we are always on the lookout for resources that will help clarify and explain various aspects of the Orthodox Faith, especially for our three kids (ages 6 and below).

And this wonderfully illustrated, charming story effectively introduces the Orthodox practice of writing icons and the theology or “theory” behind it.
In the story, a young boy, Matthew, visits a monastery with his mother, and spends the day with a monk, Brother Justin (and his cat, Paizousa), as he goes through the various stages of writing an icon of St. Seraphim, and then, of the Theotokos. Through Matthew’s experience under Brother Justin’s tutelage, the reader is introduced to such things as the kinds of paint used to make icons, the prayerful, contemplative nature of icon writing, and the typological connection between icon colors and the created order.

Most importantly, younger readers are given a picture of a person (Matthew) they can identify with who is excited about the making and use of icons. At the end of the story, Matthew is presented with a surprise gift, an icon of St. Matthew the Evangelist, and his excitement is apparent! While more subtle, perhaps, the setting of the story in a trip to a monastery introduces the monastic side of Orthodoxy and may stimulate interest in and questions about that in young readers.

This book has been a welcome companion in our attempt to introduce icons into our home and our kids’ lives. The organic nature of the story and the illustrations makes it very relatable, and resonates with how “natural,” how instinctive, our kids’ reactions have been to icons, to identifying with images of our Lord, the Theotokos, their patron Saints, and various biblical images.
It should be said, too—and this is by no means a critique of “A Gift for Matthew”—that this book is not intended to introduce the practical use or veneration of icons as such, whether at home or in church. Perhaps we could hope to see a companion book appear in which Matthew takes a trip to church—on the Sunday of Orthodoxy perhaps—and experiences icons in an explicitly liturgical setting!

In sum, if you or someone you know has younger children who would welcome and benefit from an introduction to iconography, by all means avail yourself of this charming story!
Posted by Justin Gohl on 1st Oct 2015

Bravo!

This dear book has earned a place among the children's books in my home library, my parish library, and my recommended reading. It will fulfill many children's desire to learn more about iconography and/or monasticism, desire they might not even have discovered without this book.

I enjoyed reading it to my children, who have now read it eagerly several more times with their grandmother who has studied iconography, and really appreciated its rich language, easy tone, and great detail. Muzekari has combined careful and thorough research, deep faith and broad experience, and a story-teller's heart to write this masterpiece. Lobastov's bold colors and realistic yet comfortable illustrations enhance the book and make the reader feel like part of the story. The combination of writing and illustration is able to keep generations interested. The surprise at end is really heart-warming and a good reminder for us to go and do likewise.

Nicholas and Masha have not just introduced us to an ancient Christian tradition, but they have introduced us to prayer, reverence, mentoring, and community. This book is a gift to all who will read it.

Bravo! I am waiting for other informative, enjoyable, and delightful books on other aspects of our Orthodox Christian faith.

Posted by + Fr. Noah Bushelli on 15th Sep 2015