1. Julia Gonzaga
At age twenty, Julia Gonzaga was one of the most envied women in Italy. A property owner, she entertained artists, poets, and musicians at her castle; and she was the prettiest woman in the country! Yet Julia was confused and anxious about God and her own sin. No matter how hard she tried not to sin, she often put her desires to please other people before obeying God. She finally found peace when she understood the gospel, and then she devoted her life to sharing the good news with others. Her story, set in the 1500s, gives today’s young readers an opportunity to learn about the unique challenges of the Italian Reformation and some of the Italian Christians who risked and even gave their lives for the sake of Christ.
2. Marie Durand
In 1730, nineteen-year-old Marie Durand was arrested and taken from her home in a village in Southern France for the crime of having a brother who was a Protestant preacher. Imprisoned in the Tower of Constance, Marie would spend the next thirty-eight years there. Simonetta Carr introduces us to the inspiring life of a woman who could have recanted her Protestant faith and gained release, but held fast to the truth—and encouraged others to do so as well.
3. Phillis Wheatley
No one could have imagined that the frail, seven-year-old slave girl who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1761 would become the first published African American, achieving fame for her poetry in both America and England. Upon her arrival, Phillis quickly learned to read the Bible and other classic literature, publishing her first poem in 1767 when she was thirteen and a book of poetry in 1773. Her poetry encouraged freedom for all people, and she proved to a doubting generation that intelligence and creativity are not limited to a particular race.
4. Lady Jane Grey
Although she ruled England for less than two weeks, Lady Jane Grey has been admired for generations for her courage and faithfulness to the gospel—even though she was executed for treason at the age of sixteen. In this addition to the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series, Simonetta Carr tells Lady Jane Grey’s story of intrigue and explains its context: the tumultuous politics of Reformation England. Maps, photographs, and beautiful illustrations decorate the narrative, helping young readers visualize what life was like in sixteenth-century England. More importantly, they will learn the story of an extraordinary young girl who understood that she was saved only by the mercy of God and the merits of the blood of Jesus Christ.
Simonetta Carr was born in Italy and has lived and worked in different cultures. A former elementary school teacher, she homeschooled her eight children for many years. She has written for newspapers and magazines around the world and has translated the works of several Christian authors into Italian. Presently, she lives in San Diego with her husband, Thomas, and family. She is a member and Sunday school teacher at Christ United Reformed Church, Santee, California.