Across a dark and wild sea

by Brown, Don, 1949-

Format: Print Book 2002
Availability: Available at 5 Libraries 5 of 7 copies
Available (5)
Location Collection Call #
Bethel Park Public Library Juvenile Nonfiction J BIO j92 COLUMBA Saint
Location  Bethel Park Public Library
Collection  Juvenile Nonfiction
Call Number  J BIO j92 COLUMBA Saint
CLP - Main Library First Floor Children's Department - Non-Fiction Collection j BR1720.C623 B76 2002
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor Children's Department - Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  j BR1720.C623 B76 2002
Carnegie Free Library of Swissvale Children Non-Fiction Child rm J 270.2 Bro
Location  Carnegie Free Library of Swissvale
Collection  Children Non-Fiction
Call Number  Child rm J 270.2 Bro
Northland Public Library Children's Nonfiction J 270.2 B81
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Children's Nonfiction
Call Number  J 270.2 B81
Wilkinsburg Public Library Picture Books E COLUMBA BIOGRAPHY
Location  Wilkinsburg Public Library
Collection  Picture Books
Unavailable (2)
Location Collection Status
Brentwood Library Juvenile Biography CHECKED OUT
Location  Brentwood Library
Collection  Juvenile Biography
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Children's Non-Fiction IN TRANSIT
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Children's Non-Fiction
Columcille was born in a remote corner of Ireland in the year 521. Legend has it that as a child, he was fed a cake filled with the letters of the alphabet, and so learned to love writing. He grew up to become a monk and a scribe a thousand years before the invention of printing, when books had to be copied by hand.

There was one book, a beautiful volume of psalms from distant Rome, that Columcille especially loved, and even though its owner refused him permission, Columcille secretly copied it. The copy was discovered, and a dispute arose over who it belonged to: Columcille, who made it, or the owner of the original. So better was the argument that a battle was fought between the two men's powerful friends; although Columcille's side won, the victory felt hollow to him. To punish himself, he set out ina tiny boat, vowing to leave Ireland forever.

A revered figure in Celtic history, Columcille (also known as Columbia) founded the famous monastery on the Scottish island of Iona and left a legacy of learning that illuminated a corner of the Dark Ages. History, drama, and a love of books and reading fill a story--told here in exquisite watercolors and deflty understated prose by noted author and artist Don Brown.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Ages 5-9. Don Brown, creator of other picture-book biographies such as Alice Ramsey's Grand Adventure (1997) and Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa (2000), here traces the life of Columcille. Better known as Saint Columba, Columcille was born a prince of a sixth-century Irish clan, and became a monk and a scribe. After a dispute over ownership of a copied manuscript erupted into a battle in which thousands died, Columcille left Ireland to found a monastery on the Scottish island of Iona. There, monks devoted themselves to copying manuscripts, and those copies were sent out into the world, to illuminate the intellectual darkness of the age. Setting the scene after the fall of the Roman Empire, when a great deal of knowledge had been lost and learning was little valued, Brown states: "Reading and writing were like magic, and the people who knew their secrets as rare as wizards." What a powerful idea for children working to master those skills today. This picture-book biography is gracefully written and illustrated with great delicacy and finesse, and the pictures are evidently ink drawings washed in watercolors of muted green, gray, and tan. An informative author's note, a page demonstrating "hand lettering from the time of Columcille," and a bibliography round out the presentation of this comely book on an unusual subject. --Carolyn Phelan"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Brown's (Uncommon Traveler) lyrical narrative chronicles the life of Columcille, born to an Irish king in 521, and his passionate commitment to words and ideas. Though he grew up during the Dark Ages, when the new rulers of Ireland had virtually extinguished education ("Reading and writing were like magic, and the people who knew their secrets as rare as wizards"), Columcille from early childhood loved writing, which he mastered as a student in a monastery. He went on to become a monk as well as a skilled scribe and poet, and founded many monasteries. Brown laces historical facts with anecdotes from legends in his portrayal of this remarkable man, who exiled himself from his homeland after his kinsmen crushed the army of a High King, in defense of a manuscript. Columcille had painstakingly hand-lettered a Psalter (book of Psalms) and the king had ruled that the copy belonged to the owner of the original manuscript. In penitence for the bloodshed, Columcille decided to exile himself from his homeland, and ended up on the Scottish island of Iona, and there founded a monastery. He and the other resident scribes there devoted themselves to transcribing manuscripts, creating books that were then "dispatched, like small boats on a dark and wild sea, to places where reading and writing had been forgotten or ignored." Like the work of his subject, Brown's account also sheds light on an intriguing individual of extraordinary accomplishment. The author's signature stark, muted watercolors seem especially well suited to this hero's life of piety and his historical setting. Ages 5-9. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Columba, -- Saint, -- 521-597 -- Juvenile literature.
Columba, -- Saint, -- 521-597.
Christian saints -- Ireland -- Biography -- Juvenile literature.
Books and reading -- History.
Publisher Brookfield, Conn. :Roaring Brook Press,2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description 1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0761315349 (trade)
0761324151 (lib. bdg.)
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