It is a secret to no one who knows me, whether on social media or in real life, that I love Pope Francis. So when I was offered the opportunity to review a picture book about him, I jumped at it. I didn’t jump on the reviewing part quite as quickly as I should, for which mea culpa. Read on to see what I thought–and know that while my review copy was free, I was not otherwise compensated for this review, and my opinion is, as always, my own!
I was hooked immediately by the title–Pope Francis: Builder of Bridges. You may know that one of the Holy Father’s titles, Pontiff, comes from the Latin pontifex, literally bridge-builder, and I have always thought it described Pope Francis especially well.
I love that the story starts with young Jorge Bergoglio, walking through Buenos Aires at his grandmother’s side, dreaming of playing soccer. Since this is a children’s book, it makes sense to start with a child, someone young readers will relate to.
The book showcases events from Jorge’s Bergoglio’s life that shaped his future path, from his relationship with his faithful grandmother, his father’s example of hard work, his encounters with the poor in his city, to his decision to join the Jesuits. It offers humanizing anecdotes, such as the movie nights he hosted for neighborhood kids. The story continues through his election as Pope and after to some of the events that have happened since, such as his decision to wash the feet of prisoners, Muslims, and women on Holy Thursday and his writing of Laudate Si.
Visually this book is very appealing, with colorful illustrations that support the text, and accurate portrayals of the Pope. I especially love the inside covers, which depict stained glass windows.
There are many details here for adults to appreciate too, like the glossary, the many direct quotations from the Pope with their sources provided, a timeline, and a bibliography.
Pope Francis: Builder of Bridge would be the perfect gift for any Catholic family. I loved it and I am delighted to have it in my library!
Author: Emma Otheguy
Illustrator: Oliver Dominguez
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Use the above link, or any link in this post, to purchase this book, and I will receive a small commission.