Parents' Guide to

Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World

By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Kids' questions, pope's answers offer lots to think about.

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This warm and charming collection of kids' letters and the pope's simple but meaningful responses help the pontiff seem more human and God more accessible. The children ask all kinds of questions, from practical to profound ("What did God do before the world was made?" "Our deceased relatives, can they see us from heaven?" "How can God hear us?") and the pope's responses are gentle, direct, reassuring, encouraging, and humble. With a light touch and impish humor, he also reveals things about himself, including that he really likes soccer and played it ("but I don't have a nimble foot"), that "as a young man, I liked to dance the tango," and that as a child he wanted to be a butcher when he grew up. The tone of his responses is that of a friendly, compassionate uncle, not some pompous high official or strict cleric.

While many questions and answers will resonate with curious children and Christians of various stripes, a Catholic perspective colors the endeavor, with references to catechism, mass, first communion, and the stigmata. The overall themes are fairly universal, but some of the vocabulary and specifics will have more appeal and familiarity for Catholics.

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