Well, the feastday of St. Francis is a bit more than a week away, so it’s time to start talking about the new book!
Adventures in Assisi is the fruit of my interest in St. Francis as well as trips both Ann and I have taken to the town. Ann has been twice, and I traveled there two years ago with my two youngest, on our epic 3-month stay in Europe.
There are, of course, many books on St. Francis for children, but ours is different in several ways:
1) It’s set in the present. There are regular allusions to and illustrations from St. Francis’ life, but the children at the center of the story are contemporary children, interacting with St. Francis, his life and his message, in the context of their own lives.
2) It’s not about the wolf of Gubbio or the creche or St. Francis and creation – as great as those are, those stories are the subjects of most of the books about Francis out there, and really, do we need one more?
3) The children, we hope, are physically more representative of most children you see in picture books in general, and in picture books for Catholic in general, who tend to be pretty much all Caucasian. This was quite important to me. Given the makeup of the Catholic Church, even just in the US, it’s ridiculous that the demographics of children’s book illustrations don’t reflect that. The models for these children, incidentally, are Ann’s family members.