Christopher Awards announce book winners, postpone ceremony to October

The Christopher Awards, generally presented each spring, are being delayed until October.

The Christophers, though, did announce April 15 the winners in the book category of the awards, which recognize outstanding storytelling that lifts the spirit and shows how every individual has worth and can make a difference.

“Each of these special books can provide a welcome break from today’s troubling headlines while transporting you to a different place or time, to see the world from another perspective that can offer insight, hope and solace,” said an April 15 statement by Tony Rossi, director of communications for The Christophers, founded in 1945 by Maryknoll Father James Keller. “Books allow us to travel, in place, in time and in thought, without leaving home.”

Five books for adults and six books for children in varying age groups were chosen as winners.

Winners in books for adults:

“Grace Will Lead Us Home,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jennifer Berry Hawes, explores the difficult road to healing and forgiveness faced by family members and the community at large after the racist murders of nine members at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

“No Surrender,” by Chris Edmonds with Douglas Century, reveals the untold story of the courage of Edmonds’ father, which saved the lives of hundreds of U.S. soldiers in a Nazi POW camp during World War II.

• In “The Second Mountain,” New York Times columnist David Brooks turns his attention to the quest for moral joy found in living a selfless life of purpose.

• In “What Is a Girl Worth?”, attorney and former Olympian Rachael Denhollander documents her relentless pursuit of justice for herself and hundreds of her fellow athletes who were sexually assaulted by a USA Gymnastics team doctor.

“When Life Gives You Pears,” by Jeanne Gaffigan, comedy writing partner of husband Jim Gaffigan, revisits her 2017 diagnosis with a life-threatening brain tumor, her arduous surgery and recovery, and her renewed gratitude for God, family and friends.

Winners in books for young people:

• Preschool and up: “One More Hug” by Megan Alexander, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata, follows a young boy from infancy through his departure for college, reminding readers about the difference that unconditional love can make in a child’s life.

• Kindergarten and up: “Sergeant Billy” by Mireille Messier, illustrated by Kass Reich, which shares the true story of a goat who joined a Canadian battalion during World War I, saved the lives of his comrades and returned home a hero.

• Age 6 and up: “Gittel’s Journey” by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Amy June Bates, shows the promise of liberty for a Jewish mother and daughter fleeing persecution in their homeland in the early 20th century.

• Age 8 and up: “The Pumpkin War” by Cathleen Young, in which a girl’s rift with her best friend over their town’s annual pumpkin race leads her to learn lessons about forgiveness, character and her unhealthy obsession with winning.

• Age 10 and up: “Crushing the Red Flowers” by Jennifer Voigt Kaplan, in which two boys — one Christian, one Jewish — try to make sense of the growing violence and anti-Semitism around them in Nazi Germany as they’re faced with life-and-death moral choices.

• Young adults: “A Drop of Hope” by Keith Calabrese, a novel in which, with the help of a seemingly-magical wishing well, three sixth graders discover that acts of kindness can have positive ripple effects and that storytelling can bring people together.

Film, television and any Christopher special awards will be announced at a later date, as will an exact date for the awards ceremony in New York.

Note: Information about The Christophers and its publishing, radio, and awards programs is available at

Author: Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ news and information service.

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