It is our joy to share Audacious Ignatius, and so we have sent copies all over the Jesuit world. A friend and Jesuit priest studying in Rome was able to deliver a copy to Pope Francis. Shortly after, I received the letter you see below. (I will paste a translation at the end of this letter.)
I have received your book Audacious Ignatius and I send to you my sincere gratitude. I am moved that you recall with gratitude and joy the experience of Ignatian spirituality that you were able to internalize during your years as a teacher in Jesuit education. And much more, now, that it will be a spiritual inheritance for your sons.
I hope that the fruit of your work guides along a path to God that includes prayer, intuition, reflection, action, and understanding of who is this God that is manifested in Jesus.
I wish you and your family a peaceful and fertile Easter season. I ask you, please, to not forget to pray for me.
May Jesus bless you and the Holy Mother care for you. Fraternally,
Mo Willems is a genius, particularly when Elephant and Piggie peek past the fourth wall.
When we push past the fourth wall of a children’s book, though, we find two readers. We find the child and the adult.
Why does this matter for the readers of children’s books?
Jesus’ invitation to “become like children” is, at least in part, an invitation to become as deeply perceptive as a child. My son is young, but I am sure he can pick up on the fact that I think the Elephant and Piggie books are brilliant while others are fairly forgettable.
The child is reading the book as well as the adult’s opinion of the book.
This is a deeply important question for religious resources, as a parent’s attitudes and practices of religion form that of the child.
This is why Audacious Ignatius strives for delight and depth. The book aims to captivate the young person and also strike a chord with the adult, so that when our children read us, they find joy and wonder.
The crayons in my son’s toddler classroom are shaped like large pebbles. This form serves the crayon’s function: to teach him to productively hold a pencil.
It is our sincere hope that Audacious Ignatius has a similarly productive form. We hope that its beauty and joy offers a simple reminder to productively hold the stuff of one’s life as Ignatius did, enabling attentiveness to the Spirit and freedom to participate in the work of God in the world.