Anselm of Canterbury by Simonetta Carr

AnselmCarr, Simonetta.  Anselm of Canterbury. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2013.  64 pp.  $18.00.  Purchase at Amazon for less.


Simonetta Carr is no stranger to the readers of Christian Book Notes. She is the author of the Christian Biographies for Young Readers Series that is doing amazing things to bring the glorious history of the church to life for a new and much younger generation. You can read past reviews on the other books in the series that started back in 2008.   She has also been interviewed here. You can become a fan of Christian Biographies for Young Readers on Facebook.  Continuing her theme of one church leader per era, she has now focused on Anselm of Canterbury.


Divided into 6 chapters over 60-plus pages, Carr offers a vivid retelling of the life of who many now call St. Anselm.  Anselm lived mostly in the 11th  century and wanted to become a monk living in a monastery more than anything in the world.  Through many world events, Anselm becomes archbishop of Canterbury.  The Crusades and the split with the Church in the East play heavy roles in the life of Anselm and this is duly noted.  Also noted is the life of simplicity and servant-hood Anselm sought to live.  Still, Carr does not give us a sterile Anselm as we see his anger and his fear of being a leader (his appointment as archbishop of Canterbury).


This is now the 6th book in the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series.  With each book, Carr’s ability to tell a condensed though extremely informative biography of a great Christian saint from history gets better and better.  Being a Protestant herself, I appreciate her willingness to tell the story of those who many struggle to call Christian because of their affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church though she does not embrace the ecumenicism that denies essential Christian doctrines.  Also, her willingness to bring forth the person, warts and all, is to be commended.  Often, in children’s works, we want to make the subject of the biography perfect so that the children can emulate someone decent only to discover later that their hero was in fact a sinner.  Simonetta does not do this and that gives credibility to her biographies.


I cannot recommend this children’s series highly enough.  I have become a huge fan of Simonetta Carr and her writings (both adult and children).  There are so many reasons I can think of as to why you should own and read Anselm of Canterbury but perhaps the best reason is that it is one volume in a larger series that will eventually, Lord willing, offer one of the greatest panoramic views of history of the church that we have ever been privy to.  If you have not read any of the other five volumes in this series, then you can begin here and work your way back in time.  You will not regret it.  I promise.

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