Author: Nancy Carabio Belanger
Title: Olivia and the Little Way
Category: Middle-Grade/Young Adult Books
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “poor” and 5 meaning “excellent":
Character development: 5
Production quality and cover design: 5
“The author paints beautiful pictures with her words. Olivia and Grandma sit out on the screened porch, surrounded by roses. One can almost hear the crickets!
The author does a lovely job explaining the facets of the Catholic faith. Explaining what a chaplet is, speaking of saints, all were interesting to the reader. Perhaps the most vivid memory the reader will carry with him is the lesson St. Therese has to teach. “Anyone can do something wonderful for God, no matter how little.” The reader understand that is the way in which one does those acts of kindness, that they do them with love in their heart. The reader was also entranced to learn that St. Therese had a special affection for flowers. She had written that she wanted to be a flower for God so He would look down on her and be pleased. Her favorite flower was a rose, because that is the flower she smelled from her bed. So, when one prays to St. Therese, it is not surprising that she will answer the prayer, somehow, using the rose as her “calling card.” The reader was surprised and delighted when she discovered the reason Olivia did not leave Sabrina and Hayley “behind” as she makes new friends. Olivia did not want to give up on two girls who really needed a good role model. This was because of St. Therese. The saint modeled behavior by finding good, even in the unkindest sisters.
Hayley soon appears in Olivia’s life, not as a new friend, but as an uncaring, self-centered tormentor. Olivia, like most children, falls prey to her need to be accepted by the kids she thinks are powerful. Along the way, though, she realizes her mistake and decides to be the kind girl she really is. The reader found the push/pull Hayley and Sabrina hold over Olivia and the other kids interesting and real…”
From Writer's Digest, 2010