Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Summary: Marietta Barovier grew up in fifteenth-century Murano, an island near Venice, where her father and brothers worked as glassblowers. She wanted to learn the craft, but it wasn’t something girls did. She persisted, though, hanging around the shop, and finally her father showed her how. One day, she and her father took a trip to Venice to visit a wealthy patron. Marietta discovered a small glass bowl covered with flowers, and was told that the technique for making such glass had been lost. Years later, she remembered the bowl when she tried a new technique, layering different colors of glass together to make beads. These rosetta beads became valuable currency and spread throughout the world. Includes an author’s note with additional information about Barovier and her beads, and a note about the art. 48 pages; grades 2-5.
Pros: Evan Turk’s dazzling illustrations were inspired by Renaissance and Impressionist artists, with hues of yellow, gold, and orange that capture the fiery heat of glassblowing and the light and energy of Venice. The story of Marietta is fascinating (although slightly fictionalized, since records about her are sparse), and could make a nice addition to an art curriculum.
Cons: Although there are a couple photos of Evan Turk learning to blow glass and sketching in Italy, I would have liked to have seen some of the beads.