A little while back I was given the opportunity to review Blessed John Paul II: Be Not Afraid from the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books & Media. I have a fondness for John Paul II, so I was excited to share this book with my eleven year old daughter. Before handing the book off to her I sat down one evening and read the book from start to finish. I loved how well this book retells the story of his life. I felt like I was reading the juvenile version of Why He Is a Saint: The Life and Faith of Pope John Paul II and the Case for Canonization.
I know the books in this series are geared to children in the 9-12 year old age range, but honestly, an adult who knows very little about any given saint could pick up one of the books from this series and learn so much from reading one of these stories. I am pretty impressed with the amount of information contained in this book.
My daughter read through the book over the course of a week. Between this book and the Holy Heroes Glory Stories: Blessed John Paul II she learned so much about John Paul II. She had listened to the Glory Story a few time before she had the opportunity to read this book. While she was reading the book she kept coming to me and telling me that there was a part in the book that was just like the Glory Story, or she'd tell me about a part of the book that really interested her and ask if it really happened. The book was certainly a conversation starter, and she was pretty surprised to learn that not only were there lots of books on him for adults, but also that he had also written some books himself. What made even more of an impression on her was the fact that Blessed John Paul II was alive at the same time as her. I think children need more examples of modern day saints so they can see that it's possible to live in this day and age and still strive to attain sainthood.
As with other books in the Encounter the Saints Series, this book also has a great prayer and glossary at the end of the book. While the target range of the book is for children in the 9-12 year old range, I think that children as young as seven could read this book with minimal help. I also think the book has the ability to appeal to children up through eighth grade.
I was provided with a review copy of Blessed John Paul II by the publisher, Pauline Books & Media, in exchange for my honest review. You can find out more about this book or purchase a copy by visiting Pauline Books & Media.