Friday, October 3, 2014

4th October World Animal Day St Francis of Assisi

 World Animal Day is an international day of action celebrated annually on October 4, the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. It started in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence, Italy who wished to highlight the plight of endangered species.

"Saint Francis of Assisi has always held a fascination for members of all faiths, and his story continues to inspire and motivate us more than seven hundred years after his death. Born into a wealthy family, he led a dissolute life as a young man. Then one day he had a conversion experience while passing a poor leper's hut. From that day on, Francis dedicated his life to helping the poor and outcasts of society and to teaching respect for all living things. He was joined by a noblewoman, Clare, who was soon known as Sister Moon to Francis's Brother Sun." (Amazon) He is responsible for the famous prayer that begins, "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.", the Canticle of the Sun and many stories about how he tamed a wolf and talked to animals. 

Below is a collage of all the wonderful picture books that feature Saint Francis. Lots of well-known authors and illustrators have presented their view of this favoured saint. See Tomie dePaola, Brian Wildsmith, Fiona French, Pat Mora, Demi, Margaret Mayo, Reeve Lindberg and Katherine Patterson. You might even be able to find a favourite of mine, the very old and now out-of-print How St Francis Tamed the Wolf by Gerald Rose.

There are so many wonderful books about animals, including Walker's wonderful Nature Storybooks, anything by Steve Jenkins, those large, beautifully illustrated books with flaps by Francesco Pittau Gervais, anything fro National Geographic... World Animal Day is such a good excuse for a display in the library.

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