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Channeling Peace, Beauty and Spirit
on January 24, 2006
It's not often the words "work of art" and "biography" go together in the same description. In fact I'd have to say that up until recently I was of the general opinion that children's biographies tended to be dull and uninteresting-mostly written for the purpose of providing children with the pedestrian facts they require on research assignments. Authors/ illustrators like Demi have served to change that opinion drastically. And her latest title, Mother Teresa, is a picture book biography that is also a true work of art.
Those readers who already know Demi will immediately recognize her stylistic and vividly colored illustrations in this book. Rich gold ink and brilliant scarlet make the pages come to life with a dramatically Eastern flair. Each illustrated page is a marvelous picture in its own right. Its no wonder Demi is an award-winner illustrator. She's illustrated more than 130 books for children, and her artwork appears not only in books and galleries, but also in the dome of St. Peter and Paul's church in Wilmington. I can only say that she truly brings the biography to life. This picture book account provides young and older audiences alike with the story of Mother Teresa, her mission to help the poor and her influence around the world. While the actual text is fairly brief, due to the format, it provides dates and events highlighting the turning points and important themes of Mother Teresa's life. Added to the text are prayer quotes, biblical quotes and quotes from Mother Teresa herself. These help to break up the life events, and add perspective and beauty to the book.
At the very end of the book, Demi includes a listing of what is necessary for Mother Teresa to be declared a saint as well as a list of awards and honors that she was given in her lifetime. While, as I have said, the format prevents this from being an exhaustive account, it is an excellent introduction to Mother Teresa and the life she lived. The religious and spiritual aspects of the biography are handled with grace and respect without the book becoming preachy or judgmental about how that faith is expressed. And Demi's masterful art pulls the text together to create a wonderful tribute to a woman who had such a profound influence on the world.
This book will probably be a bit complex for younger readers, unless a parent chooses to read it to them. The site recommends this book for ages 4-8, but I would amend that to closer to ages 6-12 with the added suggestion that this is a book that adults can appreciate as well. For more thorough exploration of the subject, readers may want to look for other books, but this is a good starting point. Those of you who enjoy this biography may want to look for Demi's other biographies that include such figures as Gandhi, Muhammad, and Buddha. I don't think you'll be disappointed!
Happy Reading! ^_^ Shanshad