A bilingual picture book focuses on the childhood of Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero.
In easy-to-understand English and accurate translations of Spanish, this work revisits the events that solidified a Noble Peace Prize–nominated archbishop’s faith at a young age. As a boy growing up in Ciudad Barrios in El Salvador, Óscar works at the telegraph and post office. One day, Óscar asks his father how he can send a telegram to heaven. “Pray from your heart and you can send God all the messages you want,” his father says. Óscar also worships by playing his bamboo flute and reciting poetry. He wears his mother’s apron and walks through town pretending to be a priest, blessing children and pets alike. Though his father nudges him toward carpentry, Óscar can’t be dissuaded from his desire to be a man of the cloth. The book concludes with the realization of this dream when Óscar officiates at his first Mass in his hometown. (The author’s note discloses that, years later, Romero was assassinated during Mass in 1980.) Colato Laínez’s (¡Vámonos! Let’s Go!, 2016, etc.) story is straightforward and inspiring. He injects sufficient details into the heartwarming tale without slowing the narrative’s momentum. “When he wrote poems, his eyes would shine like stars. He read them in his best melodic voice, gesturing with his arms,” the author writes. The skillful illustrations by Hunt (Zhakanaka the Word, 2006) evoke Disney animation and add visual vibrancy to the story.
An engaging tale of a boy’s spiritual awakening.