Monday, December 30, 2013

Nonfiction Monday: Pope Francis, First Pope from the Americas by Stephanie Watson

Pope Francis: First Pope from the Americas
I remember when I first realized that TV networks often have 'specials' worked up about famous people to be aired in the event of their death, long before that actually happens. While it makes good business sense, I felt gypped somehow.
Somewhat similarly, when there is a new face in the news, you see a scramble to be the first book publisher to come out with a biography. Sometimes astute publishers and authors have had an inkling that an individual's time was coming - at other times, you can see it came down to grabbing any accessible information and putting it into print in time to beat a deadline.
This biography, published about 8 months after Pope Frances started making the headlines, leans toward the latter. Anyone who has had half an eye on news stories will not learn anything new about this very popular leader. The text, while mostly flowing and accessible, does seem rushed in places. It also shows a bit of whitewashing that I would hope we are getting away from in children's books - the accusations related to Argentina's "dirty war", for example, are mentioned, but quickly dismissed.
For children who are not as familiar with Pope Francis's childhood and history, or the surprising changes he made beginning from his very first day, this would be a good introduction. It will also likely be popular with those who are just plain fans of his. Worth adding to a collection, but if you have limited funds, you may want to wait on one with more meat to it.

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