By Elise HarrisA collection of 30 letters and drawings from children around the world aged 6-13, the book contains both head-scratching questions from the youth, as well as Pope Francis' answers.
“This book is the very first book by a Pope for children ever,” Fr. Spadaro said, explaining that it’s not just a collection of things he said before in other settings, but is “something original, thought (of) as a book with answers to questions, but also drawings.”
Spadaro, editor of the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica, has worked on the book alongside Loyola Press in Chicago, who conceived the idea.
Pope Francis gave the project the official thumbs-up last May, when executives from Loyola Press traveled to Rome to pop the question on whether he would ever consider writing a children’s book.
“What really struck me is that when I asked Pope Francis about this project he immediately said yes,” Fr. Spadaro said.
Once the Pope agreed to participate, things got going, he said. Loyola Press immediately reached out to both priests and lay people around the world in order to put the publisher in contact with children who would write the letters.
The 259 letters that arrived to the Vatican came from across the globe, including countries such as Albania, China, Nigeria, the Philippines and a school for displaced children in Syria.
Fr. Spadaro affirmed that the responses given “are the Pope's words,” and noted that at one point, before his trip to the United States last September, Francis was reading the children’s’ questions, and admitted that “these are tough.”