“This engaging biography will take you through the saints life of selfless service, her childhood, her inspirations and her battles as she set out to aid the poor and the homeless on the streets of Calcutta.”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

This is the first of a series by Sonia Mehta designed to introduce children to the heroes and heroines of India. Perhaps it makes sense on the heels of Mother Teresa’s canonization to begin with the story of India’s first Catholic saint. Mehta starts her book with the young Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu and her brother and sister. Agnes was the youngest of three and she was born in pre World War 1 Albania.

Mehta lays out her text in easy to read sentences with interesting facts that most children – in fact most adults possibly may not know, like the fact that Mother Teresa considered her true birthday to be the day she was received into the Church and not the day she was actually born. She also puts a historical perspective to the European scenario of the time, the religious squabbles and the reasons behind World War 1. And to make Mother Teresa more relatable to, she also adds that Agnes and her sister sang in the Church choir.

Mother Teresa’s life and commitment to her cause are laid out simply so that it is easy to take in and accentuated by black and white illustrations.

One can see this series gradually becoming part of school texts and being memorised by the younger classes. For adults it makes a quick refresher course of the main details of the Mother’s life and work in Calcutta and the people she met and who came to help her. Not to mention the price of the straight from the loom blue bordered white saris that have gradually become the colours of Calcutta.

 

Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 2nd September 2017

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