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 Awards Press Release 




Creators of 23 films, TV programs, and books recognized for works that uplift the human spirit


NEW YORK, April 10, 2024 - Themes of hope, courage, and recognizing our common humanity run through the 23 films, TV programs, and books for adults and young people being honored with Christopher Awards in the program’s 75th diamond anniversary year. Winners include veteran ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff, “This is Us” star Chrissy Metz, Paralympic gold medalist Oksana Masters, and acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns.

            The Christopher Awards celebrate writers, producers, directors, authors, and illustrators whose work “affirms the highest values of the human spirit” and reflects the Christopher motto, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” Tony Rossi, The Christophers’ Director of Communications, said, “We’re often told that we can better understand a person if we walk a mile in their shoes. While that may not be physically possible, our book, film, and TV winners allow us to do that through engagingly told stories that introduce us to people and places different from our own, yet relatable in a variety of ways.”


Winners in the various categories are:

TV, Cable, & Streaming

            In ABC News: After the Blast: The Will to Survive (ABC News), correspondent Bob Woodruff returns to Iraq, where he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a roadside bombing 20 years ago, to share his journey toward recovery and healing, and his mission to support wounded veterans. Ken Burns wins his 11th Christopher Award for showing mankind’s ability to both destroy the natural world and save it from extinction in The American Buffalo (PBS), which recounts the ways that our national mammal, long sacred to Native Americans, found new life through conservation efforts from a diverse group of Americans. Using interviews with scholars, farmers, physicians, and clergy from various religious traditions, Sabbath (PBS) demonstrates the benefits of practicing one day of rest per week, the principles of justice that undergird it, and the potential it offers for healing a stressed-out world.

            A Small Light (National Geographic) dramatizes the story of Miep Gies, who helped shelter Anne Frank’s family from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II, thereby risking her own life to do what was morally right. Two young adults are profiled in the streaming series Special Abilities: Living Fully with Down Syndrome (Family Theater Productions), which highlights their challenges, dreams, and triumphs as they embrace rich, fulfilling lives. In A World Record Christmas (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries), a teen with autism builds his self-esteem by pursuing a Guinness World Record of stacking 1,400 Jenga blocks, while supported by loving family and friends who affirm his inherent abilities.


Feature Films

            The biopic A Million Miles Away (Amazon MGM Studios) follows José M. Hernández from his childhood as a migrant farmworker from Mexico through his unwavering commitment to becoming a NASA astronaut who travels to space. Despite his degenerative spinal disease—and against his pastor father’s wishes—young baseball phenomenon Rickey Hill pursues a major league dream in the “based on a true story,” The Hill (Briarcliff Entertainment). In The Holdovers (Focus Features), three lost, lonely souls—a disgruntled boarding school teacher, a neglected, troublemaking student, and a grieving cook—find guidance, healing, and strength as they spend Christmas break developing an unlikely friendship. It Ain’t Over (Sony Classics) celebrates New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra, a humble family man and D-Day veteran whose incredible accomplishments on the baseball diamond were often overshadowed by his genial personality and Yogi-isms. The documentary With This Light (Miraflores Films) profiles the late Sister Maria Rosa Leggol, whose efforts helped more than 87,000 Honduran children escape poverty and violence through social, educational, and entrepreneurial projects.


Books for Adults

            Maria Smilos’s The Black Angels (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Random House) relates the untold story of the African American nurses from the South who moved to New York during the Great Depression to care for tuberculosis patients and help find a cure for the disease. In The Hard Parts (Scribner/Simon & Schuster), written with Cassidy Randall, Paralympic gold medalist Oksana Masters shares her journey from being abused at a Ukrainian orphanage, to adoption by a loving American mother, to thriving in sports despite her physical disabilities. Adam Grant’s Hidden Potential (Viking/Penguin Random House) explores the character skills and motivational structures that can help the underrated and overlooked achieve success.  

            Forgiveness, faith, and racial reconciliation lie at the core of More Than I Imagined (Convergent Books/Penguin Random House), in which CNN’s John Blake meets the white mother he never knew and learns that personal relationships can often move people beyond old prejudices based on stereotypes. Jean Duffy’s Soccer Grannies (Rowman & Littlefield) chronicles South African humanitarian Mama Beka’s efforts to create women’s soccer teams for senior citizens to improve their health, the obstacles and biases she faced along the way, and the faith and passion which brought the players to visit the U.S. In What We Remember Will Be Saved (Broadleaf Books/1517 Media), Stephanie Saldaña introduces readers to several Catholic, Muslim, and Yazidi refugees from the wars in Iraq and Syria, how they are keeping their culture alive in their new countries, and how they maintain kindness towards others despite their losses and hardships.


Books for Young People

            When I Talk to God, I Talk About You by Chrissy Metz and Bradley Collins, illustrated by Lisa Fields (Preschool and up, Flamingo Books/Penguin Random House) introduces children to prayer and lovingly depicts the parent-child bond through tender images of rabbits, otters, and other animals. Author Anitra Rowe Schulte and illustrator Christopher Denise earn their second Christopher Awards for Willow and Bunny (Kindergarten and up, Two Lions), about a sheltering willow tree, a bunny in need, and the power of love and friendship to bring healing after life’s storms. When a lovable French bulldog gets bullied in doggie daycare because of his loud snort, he learns to celebrate his uniqueness and shares a welcoming message of kindness and respect in Henri and the Magnificent Snort by Samantha Childs, illustrated by Hannah Farr (ages 6 and up, Sea Lavender Publishing).

            When a nonverbal child with autism receives the gift of a therapy dog, he speaks for the very first time, moving his sister and parents to tears in The Dog That Gave My Brother Words by Wendy Hinote Lanier, illustrated by Jieting Chen (ages 7 and up, End Game Press). Food for Hope by Jeff Gottesfeld, illustrated by Michelle Laurentia Agatha (ages 8 and up, Creston Books) tells the true story of John van Hengel, whose faith inspired him to create food banks for the hungry after he lost everything and experienced poverty himself. Torrey Maldonado wins his second Christopher Award for Hands (ages 10 and up, Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House), which emphasizes the power of community in its tale of 12-year-old Trev, who is torn between using his hands to fight his abusive stepfather or using them to nurture his artistic talents that could lead him and his family toward a brighter future.



The Christophers, a nonprofit founded in 1945 by Maryknoll Father James Keller, is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition of service to God and humanity. The ancient Chinese proverb  “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness” - guides its publishing, radio, and awards programs.  


[Editors: A complete list of winners is available on request.]  

Social media: #ChristopherAwards, Facebook: The Christophers / Twitter: @ChristophersInc  / Instagram: @thechristophersnyc


David Reich -                

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