Saint Francis of Assisi: A Life of Joy

Overview

He turned away from his life of wealth and privilege to live with lepers, the "untouchables" of his society. He preached the idea of the sanctity of all life, becoming an advocate of animal rights and environmentalism in a time when even human life often had little value. He found joy in owning nothing, and giving everything away. He was story of Saint Francis of Assisi and the story of his life is inspiring and radical. And now more than ever, it bears important messages for American children living in a culture...
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Overview

He turned away from his life of wealth and privilege to live with lepers, the "untouchables" of his society. He preached the idea of the sanctity of all life, becoming an advocate of animal rights and environmentalism in a time when even human life often had little value. He found joy in owning nothing, and giving everything away. He was story of Saint Francis of Assisi and the story of his life is inspiring and radical. And now more than ever, it bears important messages for American children living in a culture of casual abundance and waste. Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.-a father, a devout Roman Catholic, a crusader for clean air and water, and a member of a family famous for its dedication to public service. It is no wonder, then, that this saint's story should resonate so powerfully with him. Mr. Kennedy has retold Francis's story as a lesson and inspiration for his own children-and for children everywhere.

Tells the story of the man who became one of the most famous saints in the world, from his fun-loving youth through his career as a soldier to the years he spent serving God.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace" is a familiar phrase to adults, but may not be familiar to young readers. This prayer of St. Francis is presented beautifully in this picture book that tells the reader of the life of St. Francis. Even as a young boy in his father's clothe shop, Francis was known for helping the poor, much to his father's chagrin. Francis' father loved to count his money, but Francis' mother taught him the value of giving and caring about others. Unable to serve in the military forces because of an illness, Francis became a soldier for the poor and diseased. At a time when lepers were feared, Francis chose to live in a leper colony and help the sick. Each page contains a phrase of the famous prayer, and each illustration is good enough to frame. This is a lovely gift book, and an excellent book of lessons about moral integrity. 2004, Hyperion Books for Children, Ages 9 to 12.
—Joyce Rice
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Kennedy's passion for nature and lifelong connection to this saint are evident in both the narrative and introduction, in which he reveals his personal convictions. The book paints Francis in glowing terms (with some fictionalized dialogue), weaving together the major threads of his life: his early kindness to beggars in his family's fabric shop; his call to and ultimate rejection of a military career; his estrangement from his wealthy father; and his ministry to lepers, the impoverished, and animals. The famous prayer, "Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace-," is printed across the bottom of the pages. Nolan's oil paintings render realistic figures in carefully staged scenes. The architecture and landscape of Assisi are accurately captured, although the New Age angel depicted at the conclusion is anachronistic. While much of the information overlaps with that found in Guido Visconti's Clare and Francis (Eerdmans, 2004), the telling and aesthetic are quite different; the books will appeal to vastly different audiences. The book has no source notes or bibliography. Purchase where religious picture-book biographies are in high demand.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A saint's biography written by a celebrity author and illustrated by an artist best known for Fairy Wings, one is hard pressed to treat this with respect. Francis of Assisi is so engaging a character-the wealthy merchant's son who gives up all to serve the poor and bless the beasts of the field. Kennedy treats the story as if it were a legal brief, making sure we don't miss A Single Point he's trying to make. Sometimes, though, the facts are unclear: Francis's mother, named Consuela in this account, is named Pica in the Catholic Encyclopedia and one wonders if a 13th-century Italian would have known British Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The narrative in any case neither flows nor sings. While Nolan's pictures have a wonderful texture, whether of cloth, stone or landscape, it looks as though a different model for Francis was used in each panel, and the one of Francis falling from his horse is just laughable. Skip the "Frameable portrait inside" and go with Michael Bedard's The Wolf of Gubbio (2001) or Guido Visconti's Clare and Francis (2004). (author's note, timeline) (Picture book/biography. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786818754
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 3/1/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.75 (w) x 10.75 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is a lawyer with the Pace University environmental clinic, and is well known for his dedication to activism. He has written two books for adults, and two other books for children, St. Francis of Assisi: A Live of Joy and Joshua Chamberlain and the American Civil War. He lives with his wife and children in Westchester County, New York.
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