If you could ask Pope Francis one question, what would it be?
Dear Pope Francis is the Pope’s first book for children, which he followed with the vibrantly illustrated Pope Francis Says… In Dear Pope Francis, the pope personally responds to 30 questions from children all over the world. With his optimistic heart, Pope Francis writes with an honesty that will impact every reader long after the final page is turned. Illuminating and inspiring, Dear Pope Francis is a lasting book with a universal message for children and adults. And, with Pope Francis Says…, younger readers can begin to learn this inspiring message from the Pope even sooner.
2017 Book of the Year, Association of Catholic Publishers
Catholic Press Association Book Awards, 2017
Independent Press Award, 2017
International Book Award Winner, 2016
Lectio Book Award, 2016
Moonbeam Award, 2016
Blackline Masters for Dear Pope Francis are available in English and Spanish and include two lessons each for grades K–2, 3–5, and 6–8. In each lesson, students apply the wisdom of Pope Francis’s responses to children’s letters to their own lives.
On Feb. 22, 2016, twelve child co-authors of the book Dear Pope Francis spent an afternoon with their co-author Pope Francis. The children came from twelve different countries, including China, Belgium, Australia, Kenya, and the United States. These children’s questions and illustrations are featured in the Pope’s first and only children’s book, along with the Pope’s personal responses.
The Holy Father talked with his young guests at the Vatican. During the extraordinary visit, each of the children gave Pope Francis a gift from their homeland, including maple syrup from Canada, a woven painting from India, Ugg boots from Australia, and a soccer ball from the United States. The Pope in turn greeted and blessed each child and then presented them with a copy of Dear Pope Francis as well as a “Jesus the Teacher” plush figure. It was the first time the children had seen the Pope’s response to their questions. The children also had the unique opportunity to ask Pope Francis additional questions and even sing a song for him.
The impact of this once-in-a-lifetime experience for the children was poignantly expressed by Ryan from Canada, “One moment, I felt excited, but then I thought, this is probably the only time I'm ever going to meet him, so I don't want to blow this.” Clara from Ireland said that she would be friends with the kids she met on this special journey for the rest of her life.
The trip, which included a tour of Rome for the children and their parents, was sponsored by Loyola Press, publisher of Dear Pope Francis. Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J., who helped facilitate and edit this unique project, offered some insight as to why the Pope immediately said “Yes” to the book and visit: “The Pope knows that when he speaks to adults, children may not listen…but when he speaks to children, then adults listen.” In this way, the children’s visit to the Vatican helped bring the world’s attention to the Pope’s desire to share a message of mercy with all people.