This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support in this way.
“Heroism must become daily, and the daily must become heroic.” ~ St. John Paul II
Can kids be heroes, too?
We encourage them to grow up and become heroes, but can they be heroes now, when they are 9 or 10 or 11 years old?
If you could ask the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, I think he would tell you the answer was “yes, of course.” He’d likely go on to to tell you the story of a young girl in China who risked everything for the sake of Christ. He might then go on to explain that he found inspiration and encouragement from this young, anonymous child to commit to spending an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament each day.
32 Days is a book dedicated to remembering the courage and faith of this little girl.
Chinese countryside, 1948; Mao Zedong’s troops rumble into town, carrying communism with them. Life has changed forever for 11 year old, Pei, and her family. When the troops interrupt Sunday Mass, sending everyone home with threats not to return, and then desecrate the altar and tabernacle, Pei sneaks back in to retrieve a dropped rosary. She watches from her hiding place in horrified sorrow as the soldiers stomp on 32 consecrated Hosts. What can she, a poor, young girl, do in the wake of such violence especially when, she tells a disguised priest, “Thinking about it makes me want to go to Him.”
Though the priest instructs her not to – it would be too dangerous for her to go to Him – Pei formulates a plan. She then risks her life for 32 days to carry it out.
For being a fictional account of a real person, 32 Days is entirely plausible. More importantly, Pei is relatable to the audience. For example, at one point in the story, Pei’s friend takes advantage of the new communist rules ensuring equality and Pei is forced to give up her beautiful, handmade from pink scraps of silk, coat. In its place, she is given her friends old, dirty brown coat.
“For the rest of the day, Pei was distracted with anger and worry. I don’t understand how Jiang-Mei could do this to me.” She isn’t unbearably pious, the reader can relate and so wants to continue reading.
I loved this story, and am
forcing highly recommending my children read this book. However, if your kids are the more sensitive type, I highly recommend you pre-read this book. While there is nothing objectionable in it and it is a wholly Catholic book, the story is about Communists China and life under Mao Zedong. Violence is part of the narrative.
Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good…
Who should read this book, then?
In my opinion, you and your children. Some would say we live in a precarious times. If you want to see what heroic virtue looks like in modern times, if you want to see what a modern hero might look like, if you want to be inspired in the same way Venerable Archbishop Sheen was inspired: read this book.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hope that I would provide a (favorable) review. Complimentary books are not necessarily good books, though. My opinions are my own.