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Saints: Lives and Illuminations Hardcover – February 7, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Hardcover, February 7, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5-Forty brief biographies, opulently illustrated. The pencil-and-oil portraits are done in the manner of Renaissance art, with deep but bright colors, stylized frames, and the saints' faces delineated by halos. Saints, almost by definition, lived lives of sacrifice, and many were tortured or killed because of their faith. Sanderson includes those aspects in the text, but does not engage in extended or gory descriptions. All of the figures included are from the first millennium, almost half are women, they come from both the Western and Eastern Orthodox traditions, and lived in a variety of countries. The collection includes well-known saints, such as Patrick, Nicholas, and Christopher, as well as the less familiar. No sources are listed, so the line between legend and fact is somewhat fuzzy. However, for those interested in sharing inspiring stories of Christian devotion with children, this volume is well designed, attractive, and easy to use.
Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. This compilation of saints almost feels like a throwback to another era. Forty saints are introduced, two to a spread. Each saint gets a lovely oil-and-pencil portrait that takes up a third of the page and an overview of his or her life. Although not sensationalized, the descriptions clearly relate how many of these people were martyred. In the profile of Saint Barbara, the text notes, "When a shepherd betrayed her to her father, she was arrested, tortured and sentenced to death. Her father struck her down with his own sword." In Saint Cecilia's case, Sanderson writes that "she was arrested, tortured and beheaded." This sentence is rather jauntily followed by the statement, "Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians and singers." Some names are familiar (Saint Christopher is included, although he has been removed from some official lists of saints), but many are not, perhaps because Sanderson has chosen saints from the Eastern Orthodox tradition as well as from the Roman Catholic Church. The lives of saints continue to be a source of inspiration for many children; buy this handsome book where there will be an audience. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (February 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802852203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802852205
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 12 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,168,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book for children which has one page per saint. Each page has about 2/5 of it with a beautiful colored picture of the saint. The other 3/5 of it has a equally beautiful stories of the saints. The saints included in this book are as follows.
Alexandra . . . . Anthony . . . . Augustine . . . . Barbara . . . . Basil . . . . Bede . . . . Benedict . . . . Brendan . . . . Brigid . . . . Catherine . . . . Cecilia . . . . Christopher . . . . Columba . . . . Constantine . . . . Dorothy . . . . Dunstan . . . . Edmund . . . . Eloi . . . . Ephraim . . . . Genevieve . . . . George . . . . Gregory the Great . . . . Helen . . . . Jerome . . . . John Chrysostom . . . . Kevin . . . . Lawrence . . . . Martin of Tours . . . . Mary of Egypt . . . . Maud . . . . Monica . . . . Moses . . . . Nicholas . . . . Nina . . . . Paula . . . . Patrick . . . . Scholastica . . . . Spyridon . . . . Stephen . . . . Theodora
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Format: Hardcover
The illustrations are sweetly innocent and charming, but somehow neither holy nor inspiring (the best one is the cover).

The descriptions of the different saints are quite interesting, and although they include the details of how the different saints died, it would be a matter of how you raise your children that decides you on this book.

Example on Saint Catherine:

"Catherine was tied between great spiked wheels, but it is said that lightning struck the wheel and saved her from this torture. Catherine was then beheaded, and milk, not blood, flowed from her body. "

I suppose that one of the cornerstones of Saints & martyrs being declared is the manner of their death, therefore it is relevant.

Recommended reading group 8+
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A lovely book for children to get acquainted with Catholic saints. This contains the biographies of 76 popular and some lesser-known saints, from St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church to Mother Teresa, a really good collection for all Catholics to know about. This book would appeal to girls and boys alike as there is a fair distribution among male and female saints. (Note: is this a later publication as it contains more saints than listed in the description and reviews? A few saints are coupled, such as St. Scholastica and St. Benedict).

It seems to be nicely bound with a hard-cover and dust jacket. The writing is easy to read, perhaps 2nd grade and up, simple enough for children, though appealing for adults as well. The illustrations are very beautiful, done with stunning, illumination-style frames. None of your insipid, effeminate saints here! I think boys and girls alike, as well as adults, will appreciate the art in this book.

Each saint has two pages, one with an illustration and the facing page with his or her biography. The biographies are well-written. These are generally composed of several paragraphs describing the saint's life, and usually includes some anecdote from his or her life. At the bottom of the page is a mention of what the saint if patron of and the saint's feast day. At the back is a short glossary of terms used, such as "martyr" or "doctor of the church".

This makes a good gift, especially because it has a special page to personalize a dedication with a little embellished frame with "For..."--good for godparents, sponsors, etc.
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Format: Hardcover
This is NOT merely a book for children. Millions love saints. Their heroic goodness fuels our own hopes, because unlike fairy tales--the lives of saints supposedly are factual. I add "supposedly" because we all know that many saints' lives are part fact and part legend. One reason I'm so strongly recommending Ruth Sanderson's new "Saints: Lives and Illuminiations" today is that her collection of more than 70 saints' stories and iconic illustrations leans toward some of the documented real-life saints of particular interest to North Americans.

For example, you'll find St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pioneering American educator and passionate advocate for the poor and orphaned. Plus, Sanderson has included two saints who the Vatican has not yet officially canonized, but who already are very important: One is Mother Teresa, whose personal example of service as well as her writings continue to inspire millions around the world. The other very welcome addition in this regard is Kateri Tekakwitha, the remarkable 17th-century Algonquin-Iroquois woman who now is widely regarded as patronness of ecology, the environment and youth. While the Vatican has not yet canonized them, which is the Vatican's official declaration of their sainthood, Christian teaching clearly indicates that they're both saints already.

What most impressed me about this collection, though, is the inclusion of another very important saint: St. Moses the Ethiopian, sometimes known as St. Moses the Black. Sanderson includes him in this collection with an illustration depicting him as a youthful monk. So often, when St. Moses' image is displayed these days, he's shown as a much older father of the church. St. Moses is a vital bridge between Africa and the rest of the Christian world.
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