When Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., arrived at Pope Francis’s door, he was told to knock and go in.
“There you go,” he writes, “what’s more normal than knoWhen Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., arrived at Pope Francis’s door, he was told to knock and go in.
“There you go,” he writes, “what’s more normal than knocking on a door, right? But it’s Pope Francis’s door.”
He continues with an account of the couple of hours he spent with the pope. Fr. Spadaro arrived with a pack of letters from children all over the world. They wrote questions for the Pope, drew him pictures, and sent them via Fr. Spadaro.
The questions, admittedly, weren’t easy ones. “But these are tough questions!” Pope Francis responds after leafing through them.
You don’t have to spend much time reading Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World (2016, Loyola Press) to understand that.
For anyone who spends much time around children, these are standard fare. But that doesn’t make them any easier.
The letters that made the cut into the book are delightful, both for their content and for the art that accompanies them. Of the 259 letters received from 26 different countries, 31 were printed.
(Can you imagine being that editor?)
The Pope’s answers vary in length, but all share a warmth that will make you smile and feel a bit like he’s sitting beside you, answering a question you would have asked, given the chance.
On the other hand, this book includes many questions I’ve never thought of asking, but that, upon reading, I did immediately wonder about.
Have you spent much time thinking about the action of walking on water? And the fish going about their business beneath you?
That’s just one of the many gems found in this compilation, which is beautifully illustrated by the children themselves. Each letter also includes a picture of the writer, so you get the feeling that you’re included in a conversation.
My kids wouldn’t sit through the entire book; we made it through a few pages before the younger ones scampered off. I caught my nine-year-old curled up with it at two different times, though, and she told me she really liked it.
And, to be truthful, I liked it a lot myself. This is a book we’ll be keeping around and paging back through.
It’s wonderful to have a real-life glimpse of Pope Francis to share with my children, and even better to have a look for myself. This book is a reminder that questions are important, and having the courage to ask them—and hear them—is at the heart of our Catholic faith....more
This book is a delightfully light read...and I loved it for all the reasons I love Jane Austen books.
It's a romantically inclined book about Liz BenniThis book is a delightfully light read...and I loved it for all the reasons I love Jane Austen books.
It's a romantically inclined book about Liz Benning, whose life has distinct parallels to Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Part of the fun of reading this book is experiencing Liz's mishaps and misunderstandings and realizing how they tie in to Austen's novel.
Liz is the kind of character who I found myself relating with a little too much...the world is "against her," though she's admittedly blind to her own shortcomings. The premise behind the book is that Liz is going to have a "happiness project" over the course of a year, spending every month focusing on something to bring her more personal happiness.
Given that her brother-in-law (who's up for picking on Liz in any way he can) has a bit of a bet with her about it...and an interest in getting her to help him with his projects, there's layers of laughter throughout the book. At one point, I found myself wondering if it would be a happy ending (I mean, how can it be an Austen-like book without that?!?). And therein lies some of the delight: the path to happily ever after is full of rocks and twists and chuckles....more