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CHRISTOPHER AWARD WINNERS FIND INSPIRATIONAROUND THE GLOBE AND THROUGHOUT HISTORY
63 creators of outstanding films, TV programs and books will be honoredat the 61st annual Christopher Awards presentation
NEW YORK, April 8, 2010 — Between the battle to save New York City neighborhoods from the wrecking ball of master builder Robert Moses to the fight to preserve dignity in the face of Alzheimer’s, winners of the 61st annual Christopher Awards share the common theme of hope and perseverance in the face of adversity. Seventeen feature films, TV and cable programs, and books for adults and young people, along with their 63 writers, illustrators, directors, producers and executive producers, will be honored at the Christopher Awards presentation here on Thursday, April 15.
The Christopher Awards, first presented in 1949, annually honor writers, producers, directors and illustrators in the publishing, film, TV and cable industries whose work affirms the highest values of the human spirit. “The creativity recognized by the Christopher Awards presents views of reality and flights of imagination that heighten inspiration and engage the human soul,” said Mary Ellen Robinson, vice president of The Christophers.
TV & Cable
Three of the five Christopher Award-winning TV & Cable programs come from HBO, including The Alzheimer’s Project: Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am? with Maria Shriver, who executive-produced with Sheila Nevins. Also honored from HBO are Locks of Love: The Kindest Cut, about an organization that donates wigs to those facing cancer treatment and other critical illnesses; and Taking Chance, which follows the soul-searching journey of an officer who accompanies home the body of a Marine killed during the Iraq invasion. The story of a British brain surgeon’s commitment to heal critically-ill patients in the Ukraine is told in The English Surgeon that aired on the PBS series P.O.V. And CBS-TV’s Hallmark Hall of Fame – The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler dramatizes the life of a courageous Polish woman who risked her life to hide Jewish children during the Holocaust.
Books for Young People
Young readers learn about courage, exploration, history and foreign lifestyles in the five winners in the Books for Young People category. Tori Murden McClure’s memoir, A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean (Collins/Harper Collins), shows young adult readers that being a superhuman adventurer isn’t what life’s about…it’s about embracing one’s own humanity. Pen pals in Illinois and Afghanistan forge an unusual friendship that spawns discomfort in both communities in Andrew Clement’s Extra Credit (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster), illustrated by Mark Elliott, for readers 10-12.
The Underground Railroad, bravery and a mother’s love propel the story in Most Loved in All the World (Houghton Mifflin) by Tonya Cherie Hegamin, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera for readers 8-10. In Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette), Major Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery describe to 6 to 8 year olds the harrowing journey of an Iraqi dog of war who travels 70 miles in the desert to be reunited with his Marine protector. For preschoolers, Yumi Heo’s Ten Days and Nine Nights: An Adoption Story (Schwartz & Wade Books/Random House) captures, from an older sibling’s vantage point, the anticipated arrival of a new family member—an adopted child from a foreign land.
Books for Adults
Readers travel through time, history and such far-flung destinations as New York, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Illinois and East Africa in the four Books for Adults that The Christophers tapped to take this year’s honors. The books trace the impact of people who buck the odds and achieve extraordinary results.
Ronald C. White, Jr., in A. Lincoln: A Biography (Random House), documents our 16th President as a man of integrity, whose moral compass holds the key to understanding his life. Discomfort and danger mean nothing to Greg Mortenson, whose Central Asia Institute takes him to a Pakistan torn by natural disaster. He rebuilds earthquake-proof schools, after which he returns to the heart of Taliban territory in Afghanistan to continue his courageous efforts to build schools for girls in Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Viking/Penguin Group).
Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy Kidder writes about a refugee’s heroism in Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness (Random House). A refugee from Barundi, Deo arrives in New York with $200, ends up living in Central Park and, thanks to strangers’ help, attends Columbia University and medical school. Devoting his life to healing, Deo learns to transform anger into forgiveness. Anthony Flint writes a David and Goliath story in Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City (Random House). The story goes far beyond the Big Apple, touting the power of individuals who successfully defy those who threaten to destroy the fabric of their communities.
A special award named for The Christophers’ founder Father James Keller will be presented to Brother Tyrone A. Davis, C.F.C., J.D., director of the Office of Black Ministry of the Archdiocese of New York. Br. Tyrone, a lifelong educator in the U.S. and Haiti, has been actively involved with ministering to the spiritual and educational needs of those in the earthquake-devastated nation.
The Christophers, a nonprofit organization 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, leadership and awards programs. More information about The Christophers is available at www.christophers.org
[Editors: A complete list of winners is available here.]
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