the song of francis by tomie depaola

December 1, 2012

Joining up with the Virtual Book Club for Kids. This month’s author is Tomie dePaola. We read the book The Song of Francis.

The Song of Francis, book cover

The Song of Francis is a story of Saint Francis of Assisi; it beautifully captures his character through simple text and vibrant illustrations.

Lily found a kindred spirit in Saint Francis; she loved that he loved the birds and nature.


I was interested to learn that dePaolo considered being a Benedictine Monk for a time.  After living in a monastery for a few months he rejoined secular life but he continues to draw on religious inspiration.[1] He has created murals, such as that in the Dominican Retreat Chapel in Niskayuna, NY.

Religious influence can also be seen in his artistic work as an author and illustrator; dePaola has written many stories based on religious stories and characters besides The Song of Francis, including The Miracles of Jesus, The Parables of Jesus, Mary: The Mother of Jesus, Francis: The Poor Man of Assisi, Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland, and The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica.

We explored the life of Saint Francis by looking at his song, the Canticle of the Sun (here is a modern interpretation that we listened to performed by Jacob JohnsSon) and images of him in manuscripts, icons, and folk art (favorite works of Saint Francis include those by Sadao Watanabe, Jose Fransico Borges, Elayne LaPorta, M.C. Escher, and Gertrud Mueller Nelson). I also read to Lily excerpts from, The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi and  God’s Troubadour, The Story of St. Francis Assisi by Sophie Jewett, a children’s story about the life of Saint Francis.

Because she is fascinated with The Secret of Kells, I decided to expand our reading by having Lily make a manuscript-style artwork of Saint Francis. Lily made her artwork by first drawing out the images and text in pencil. She then went over the lines with permanent marker and filled in the color with watercolor paints. She drew a picture of Saint Francis with a bird and her text (she had me spell everything out for her) reads, “Saint Francis preached to the birds. He loved nature.” 


Lily's manuscript-style drawing of Saint Francis


This is a blog hop but I can’t post the linky (no javascript allowed on free WordPress blogs). Here is a list of the other bloggers that are participating in the Virtual Book Club:

Toddler ApprovedRainy Day MumAdventures in Reading with Kids3 DinosaursRoyal BalooThe Educators’ Spin On ItInspiration LaboratoriesPleasantest Thing Edventures with Kids Two Big Two Little Playing With Words 365Kitchen Counter ChroniclesOutlaw MomMommy and Me Book ClubCrafty Moms ShareNo Twiddle TwaddleThe Good Long Road Ready. Set. Read 2 MeReading Confetti Mama SmilesJuggling with KidsMom to 2 Posh Lil DivasCreekside LearningCreative Family FunThe Usual MayhemTeach PreschoolPlayDrMomCraftoArtHere Come the GirlsBeing a Conscious ParentSmiling like SunshineCrayon FrecklesTrain Up a ChildSmile Play Learn



[1]“Tomie dePaola.” Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. 




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