by Marlyn Monge, FSP, and Jaymie Stuart Wolfe
illustrations by Diana Kizlauskas
Second Son received this book as a Christmas gift from his godparents. I decided to read it aloud to the children as one of our family read-alouds and we all enjoyed it tremendously. Bl. Pope John Paul II is a popular figure in our house, but they loved learning more about the current Pope. It also fit in very nicely with First Son's study of South America.
The book begins with the marriage of Pope Francis's parents, a beautiful beginning. It tells of how he was raised, spending his days with his Italian grandparents, learning to care for his siblings, helping tremendously in the home when his mother was ill for an extended time. The chapter telling of his realization of God's calling to be a priest was particularly powerful, showing how a small conversation, an offering of a bit of time can make a different in someone's life (young Jorge) or for the whole world.
The main theme in the book is Pope Francis's love of all people and his great joy in encouraging others, especially young people, to love and serve God.
The illustrations are in color and there is at least one full-page illustration for each chapter. Each chapter is only a few pages long, so they were just the right length for my five year old and seven year old girls. Even my ten year old son and I enjoyed the book! (Second Son listened when he happened to be around, but couldn't be cajoled over from playing to listen to the story. We'll have to read it again when he's a little older.)
This book can be also purchased in paperback from Sacred Heart Books and Gifts.