A debut picture book focuses on the origins of Mother Teresa.
Mother Teresa was known by a different name as a child—Agnes. As Saunders tells her tale, her words are accompanied by soft watercolor and colored pencil illustrations that enhance the storyline and evoke a sense of reverence. From early on, Agnes was torn between her desire to become a writer and her dream to help the poor. She knew the hardship of poverty after her father unexpectedly died. But Agnes’ mother “stitched their family back together again” by selling embroideries. Agnes took food to the needy as a child and developed her writing talent. Eventually, she felt a divine “tugging inside her heart” to serve God in India. She combined her service there with writing, living up to her own stirring words: “I am a little pencil in the hand of God.” The simple language Saunders uses is appropriate for a young audience, and studious readers will enjoy the back matter that gives additional information. Rather than spouting facts about Mother Teresa, the author takes a personal approach, considering what life may have been like for her. While Saunders has clearly done her research, she also deftly takes artistic license to bring the tale alive with sensory and emotional details.
A warm introduction to an inspiring figure.