Catholic Press Association Awards Olivia's Gift, Harvey House Publishing
The Press Award banquet was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.
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Contact: Harvey House Publishing
Pittsburgh, PA (June 25, 2011)-Calling it a "story of the human spirit," the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada awarded Olivia's Gift (Nancy Carabio Belanger; Harvey House Publishing, 2010) at its centennial celebration and annual convention last night in Pittsburgh. The Catholic Press judges chose Olivia's Gift to be one of the winners in the category of Best Book By A Small Publisher. The 2011 Catholic Press Awards were held at a banquet at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Hotel, honoring newspapers, magazines, books, and publishers for their contributions to the Catholic press in 2010.
The sequel to Olivia and the Little Way, which won a Catholic Press Award in 2009, Olivia's Gift continues the faith journey of pre-teen Olivia, who has a devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux and tries her hardest to imitate the Little Way of serving God. The two multiple-award-winning books are now part of Catholic school and religious education curricula in schools and parishes in the United States and abroad.
"While it is a Catholic story by nature, this is a story of the human spirit and the fact that teenagers and young adults are already experiencing their own profound stories of faith and God...It is a refreshing and realistic reprieve from what teenagers today are currently very distracted by—vampires," the judges wrote.
Teachers agree that the Olivia books have made positive impacts on their students. "They have made a great transformation in my classroom," says a fifth-grade teacher from Virginia. "Many of my students have been bickering and after reading a few chapters from the book, they are trying to do small things with great love. One of the great things is that the boys in my class love them too!"
The author of Olivia's Gift, Nancy Carabio Belanger, says that was what she was striving for when she authored the book.
"There is so much darkness out there in the book section for kids," she laments. "I wrote Olivia's Gift so that kids can have something positive to read about their struggles and joys with faith, family, and friends. I want them to have good, wholesome role models from our Church who can lead them to God."
With beautiful illustrations by Sandra Casali LewAllen, Olivia's Gift celebrates the value of life and the true gift of the Catholic faith. "Children need to know what is virtuous, how powerful it is to live as a real Catholic. Olivia's Gift gives a new meaning and a new light as to how to live that kind of a life. I'm giving it to all of my students," says Marian Catechist and CCD instructor Susan Schoenstein.
"First and foremost, I am grateful to God, because without Him, I could not do any of this," says Carabio Belanger. "I am honored and humbled to accept this award from my peers at the Catholic Press Association." She says her prayer is to continue to write books for children and teens that explore and celebrate what it means to be a true Catholic.
"Olivia's story is the gift itself to young readers who may be in dire need of turning in a different direction other than popular fiction," the judges wrote.