Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Paul: Tarsus to Redemption, Vol. 1 by Mathew Salisbury

I must begin with a special thanks to the writers of this Manga series; we don't read much of the comic and Manga series available at the library.... especially those marketed to teens. These are terrific alternatives.

If you have a Manga/comic book lover, they will probably like these...

We got the Paul of Tarsus and the Judith books as soon as we saw them. ... A bit to my surprise, my tween and teen both loved them. They haven't had a steady diet of the Manga and comics, so that could be a factor, but I think it's the high quality of these books as well.

The author graduated from John Paul the Great University; if this first book I read (Paul: Tarsus to Redemption Vol.1), is an indication, they are ecumenical books. This one, of course, is based on the story of St. Paul and his conversion from zealous persecutor of Christians to zealous preacher of Christ.

The main biblical characters and events are covered in a Manga-style with some "might have been" embellishments. For example, after Paul's conversion, he meets and is nurtured by the new Christians, (at this time known as followers of The Way). He meets an attractive Christian girl, and later learns that he had killed her brother in his days dedicated to stamping out Chrisitanity. He has already come to repent of his violence, but this helps inspire his "Love it patient, Love is Kind..." missive.

His previous Jewish mentor, Gamaliel, does not approve of Paul's methods in stamping out the Christians. But Septus, the young Roman Paul mentors, is not convinced by Paul's conversion and tries to kill Paul for his betrayal of the Jewish faith just as Paul taught him to do to the Christians.

It's told primarily by pictures being a Manga comic. The rating is for ages 12 and up, although I let my younger ones read it. I think the reason for the rating may be the themes of violence throughout. It's certainly not for the skimpy clothing you find in teen Manga comics. There is fighting, such as the long sequence of fighting between Paul's Christian defender and Septus, Paul's former student. An earlier scene depicts Paul standing in front of young Christian children with a bloody knife, illustrating his depth of descent before his conversion. One theme is the forgiveness and peace he learns to embrace when he follows The Way of Christ.

I may just have to read Judith now for myself....



Nancy Piccione January 21, 2011 at 6:14 PM  

Thanks for the heads up on these books. Surprisingly, I'm finding that I'm enjoying graphic novels for kids and young adults.

I just finished Scrawl, a new novel that's up for a Cybil--think that's what they are called--kidlit awards. I really enjoyed it and would love to see your review.

Tween Lit Crit January 21, 2011 at 8:06 PM  

Thanks for the recommendation; I haven't heard of Scrawl, but I'll enjoy checking it out!

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