Children's LiteratureThis biography of Pope John Paul II was written as part of the Lerner and A&E Television Network series Biography. Behnke presents a carefully-constructed, well-written chronological picture of Karol Wojtyla, the first Pope from Poland and the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years, who died in 2005. Black-and-white photographs illustrate both people and events from John Paul II's long and illustrious life which began in a small town in Poland and ended 85 years later in the Vatican in Rome. This compassionate, literate, gifted and dedicated man reflected in his actions as the Holy Father the influences of his early life. The deaths of his mother and beloved older brother before he was twelve years old, his experiences as an avid student and amateur actor, the Russian occupation of his motherland during World War II, and his friendship with a Jewish schoolmate all prepared him for the demanding and difficult decisions he made as spiritual leader of millions of Roman Catholics around the world. Not only did John Paul II grapple with radical changes in the scientific and technical areas of his world, he was also confronted with controversial and troubling moral issues. His condemnation of what he called a "culture of death" which included euthanasia, the death penalty, drug dealing, birth control and the war in Iraq, coupled with his refusal to even discuss the ordination of women as priests were unpopular with many social activists even in his own church but are frankly reported in this biography. This book is recommended for purchase because it is well written, fast paced and of interest both to Roman Catholics and to those of other faiths. It is also a useful reference source withdefinitions of terms (such as seminary, linguistics, and church titles) given in parentheses immediately following the first use of the word, as well as a pronunciation guide, glossary, list of sources, selected bibliography, suggestions for further reading and an index. 2006, Lerner Publishing Group, and Ages 9 to 12.