Friday, November 15, 2013

Jorge from Argentia and Blessed James Alberione (Pauline Books and Media)

Welcome back to the Children's Corner. Unfortunately, this segment doesn't appear as often as it used to at Stuart's Study. The Catholic publishing industry does print hundreds of books a year, but I'd say about only a dozen or so of those books are geared towards kids. Luckily, we have companies like Pauline Books and Media who keep printing faithful children's books, while everyone else is focused mainly on adults. Today, therefore, I am reviewing two of their books - Jorge from Argentina and Blessed James Alberione: Media Apostle.

Jorge from Argentina is a biography of Pope Francis told at a level that children can understand. This book begins with the wedding of Jorge's parents and his subsequent birth.  It ends with his election as Pope and the most recent World Youth Day in Brazil. Interspersed throughout the biography are interesting facts about his life that show us what made him the man he is today. For example, as a young boy, he spent days with his grandparents where they spoke Italian to him. This exposure to a second language explains why he is fluent in both Italian and Spanish. One chapter even talks about where he first discovered his call to priesthood at the age of 17. This was a beautiful chapter that teaches children to always be open and listening to God. In doing so, God will reveal His will for their lives to them.

This is the third book published from Pauline Books and Media that tells the life story of the current pope with the previous two books in the "series" being Karol from Poland and Joseph from Germany. While my son (and future children) were not alive for the reigns of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, I still bought these books so they can know about the popes who helped shape my faith. Like the first two books in this "series," Jorge from Argentina's  story and pictures will captivate your young readers. You might learn something too from reading it with/to them. My only gripe with the book is that it is a different size than Karol from Poland and Joseph from Germany.I'm a big fan of books in series looking uniform. That minor gripe aside, I still recommend this book to you all. As an added bonus, it is also available in Spanish under the title Jorge de Argentina!

Blessed James Alberione: Media Apostleis the 32nd book in the Encounter the Saints Series. For those of you unfamiliar with the books in this series, they are pocket-sized biographies of saints or near-saints. I'm ashamed to admit that I have never heard of Fr. James Alberione until today, not because I think I know every saint in Heaven but because he was the founder of both the Society of St. Paul and the Daughters of St. Paul. The Daughters of St. Paul is the group that published this and many other books I have reviewed. The book is approximately 130 pages long and is recommended for children ages 9-13. However, I believe your high schooler could benefit from reading it as well.

Apart from the interesting details of Fr. James Alberione's early life, I found the most fascinating parts of the book were his life after he was ordained. From all accounts, it seems like he should be fulfilled in his vocation. He had a doctorate in theology (something I would love to have), and he was working as a teacher, a spiritual director, and an associate pastor. However, there was still a yearning inside of him to do more. I think we all feel that call, but we don't always act on it. Fr. James did not make this mistake of ignoring the call. Instead, he responded with gusto and used media such as radio, film, and, my favorite, printed works to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If it wasn't for him, there would be A LOT less Catholic children's books in the U.S today. This was such a well-written book that I now want to read the rest of the series. I guess I better start saving up, because I am 31 behind! Your children will love to read this, and you will probably want to borrow it when they are done. I can't wait to see what Volume 33 will be.

I received both of these books for free from Pauline Books and Media, in exchange for honest reviews. If you found the reviews helpful click here and here, and hit Yes!