Saturday, February 20, 2010

Children’s Books about St. Francis

OK, ok. I realize that if 3 out of 60+ blog posts to date have been about St. Francis of Assisi, I am probably at risk for sounding a little obsessed about the guy. I’m not obsessed, but I did want to mention two children’s books about the saint that I’ve recently found. I’ve been encouraging my kids to read biographies and we found two about St. Francis at our local library. They were both by famous authors, so we gave them a try.

One book is by Tommie de Paola, the celebrated children’s author. Our family has enjoyed other books by Mr. de Paola like The Legend of the Bluebonnet and Strega Nona. Having taught elementary school prior to attending law school, I was pretty familiar with Mr. de Paola’s work, but never realized he had written a book about St. Francis. The other book our family borrowed is by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Beyond being the son and namesake of the late senator, Professor Kennedy is also a law professor and environmental activist.

I was impressed by the words both authors used to express their motivation for writing a children’s book about Francis and what the saint meant to each of them personally. St. Francis was pretty radical, he isn’t a role model for Christ followers who just want to play it safe and easy. He renounced his birthright, wore rags, and ministered to lepers when others wouldn’t go near them. He took very seriously his role in the Body of Christ and his responsibility to witness God's love to others. It was really encouraging to read about the vital role faith played in the lives of both Mr. de Paola and Professor Kennedy, and how the example of Francis was particularly meaningful to each of them. I recommend both books—to adults as well as to children.

Deuteronomy 18:18 (New American Standard Bible)

I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.

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