The Light of the World: The Life of Jesus for Children

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Two-time Newbery Award-winning author Katherine Paterson tells the story of Jesus's life with extraordinary clarity and grace, accompanied by paintings as human and reverent as the text.

"When the people looked at all the sadness and evil in the world, they had trouble believing that God was in charge. 'God's kingdom,' said Jesus, 'is as tiny as the smallest of seeds, but when it is planted it grows into such a huge tree that the birds make their nests in its branches.'"
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Overview


Two-time Newbery Award-winning author Katherine Paterson tells the story of Jesus's life with extraordinary clarity and grace, accompanied by paintings as human and reverent as the text.

"When the people looked at all the sadness and evil in the world, they had trouble believing that God was in charge. 'God's kingdom,' said Jesus, 'is as tiny as the smallest of seeds, but when it is planted it grows into such a huge tree that the birds make their nests in its branches.'"
Newbery Medalist & minister's wife Katherine Paterson retells the life of Jesus in simple, beautiful language for all ages, making the story new again through her trademark generosity and compassion. Iconic images from Jesus's life light the text with the same warmth and directness. A perfect gift book!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

As Newbery Medalist Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia) distills key events in the life of Jesus, her unfettered prose is sure to prove inviting to young readers. Blending accessible language and memorable, age-appropriate imagery, she skillfully encapsulates familiar Bible passages and parables: "Jesus was hung on a cross on a hill outside the city, between two men who were thieves. His frightened friends had run away. He felt very alone./ When Jesus died, darkness covered the earth. The light of the world had gone out." Roca's (The Yellow Train) stylized oil paintings, a series of warm-hued portraits and scenes deceptively spare in their composition, seem to use light as an organizing motif, too. Sun illuminates Jesus as he leads his disciples across tawny desert, and light from an unseen source falls upon the lame man whom the offstage Jesus heals; the palette darkens when Roca shows disbelievers and as the crucifixion nears. The illustrations, unconventionally, preceded Paterson's text, originally appearing in a French children's book and inspiring this book's editor to seek out an American author. The pairing works seamlessly, with both author and artist highlighting elements of the story (the cup of wine, the bread eaten when Jesus "gathered his closest friends to celebrate the feast of Passover"), and illuminating them anew for children and adults alike. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
The life of Jesus is retold drawing on the metaphor of light which the prophet Isaiah used to give hope to the people. "This is the story of light coming into the world." At Jesus' birth, the shepherds see a "blinding light" with angels. Men from distant lands followed the light of a star. Jesus gathers disciples, tells of the shepherd seeking the lost sheep, heals the lame man, and welcomes children. He tells of God's loving kingdom. When some say he is the "Son of God," others are angered. At the crucifixion the light goes out. The scene of three crosses is at a distance and is not scary. Then when he is risen the text reads: "The light had come into the world, and not even the darkness of death could overcome it." At the end: "The light shines through everyone who, like Jesus, lives the good news of God's loving kingdom." The illustrations were taken from a French book with a similar theme. Desert earth tones and distant vistas convey a sense of eternal truth. A cuddly baby and slightly stylized Near Eastern people with tan skin and black hair and eyes are shown. Children will enjoy hearing this story again and again and getting the "feel" of it. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3
Paterson introduces her retelling with the simple statement, "This is the story of light coming into the world." Beginning with the angel's visit to Mary and her baby's birth in Bethlehem, the story concentrates on the years Jesus and his disciples travel "through the towns and countryside, telling everyone about God's kingdom." When they go to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, he is arrested and crucified, bringing darkness to the Earth. After Jesus rises from the dead, the light returns and "still shines through everyone who, like Jesus, lives the good news of God's loving kingdom." Paterson's eloquent narrative is accompanied by lush portraits painted in subtle earth tones that evoke the ancient atmosphere of biblical society. The illustrations glow with a light of their own. The picture of Mary and Joseph adoring the newborn baby is especially poignant. The author beautifully illuminates the themes of love, faith, and goodness in this retelling, which may be paired with Martine Blanc-Rerat's more extensive All About Jesus: The Life and Teachings of Jesus in the Bible's Own Words (Loyola, 2000).
—Linda L. WalkinsCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Newbery Medalist Paterson turns her talents and considerable experience as a religious educator to interpreting the life of Jesus in a style that children will understand. In a gentle, simply told fashion, Paterson begins her interpretation with the metaphor of the light of the world before introducing Mary and presenting the angel's announcement of her forthcoming child. The author continues her well-written narrative in chronological order, focusing on Christ's ministry and his disciples, with some simple explanations of the political situation that led to Christ's crucifixion. The story of Jesus is necessarily shortened within this framework, leaving out some key incidents such as Christ's baptism, but the coherent and smoothly told text succeeds in conveying a powerful and understandable story. Roca's illustrations, previously used as illustrations in a French volume of a similar nature, are just as polished and accessible as the text, with the individualistic faces and costumes of the characters making them seem like real people. Interestingly, Jesus as an adult is always shown from behind or at a distance, making him a character that readers must interpret for themselves. (Nonfiction. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545011723
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2008
  • Series: The Light Of The World Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD920L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.34 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Katherine Paterson

Katherine Paterson was born in China, where she spent part of her childhood. After her education in China and the American South, she spent four years in Japan, the setting for her first three novels. Ms. Paterson has received numerous awards for her writing, including National Book Awards for The Master Puppeteer and The Great Gilly Hopkins, as well as Newbery Medals for Jacob Have I Loved and Bridge to Terabithia. Ms. Paterson lives with her husband in Vermont. They have four grown children.

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