NEW YORK, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Cultural and historical diversity distinguish the 22 feature films, TV/cable programs and books for adults and young people set to be honored during the 59th annual Christopher Awards gala at the McGraw-Hill Building in New York City, on April 10, from 6- 10 p.m. From the killing fields of Sierra Leone to a French kitchen as seen through the eyes of a hopeful rodent to hotbed of racism in the Depression-era South and the global foundations of spirituality, this year's slate of Christopher Award winners cover a broad spectrum but share a common denominator: They all "affirm the highest values of the human spirit." First presented by The Christophers in 1949, the Christopher Awards salute media that remind audiences and readers, of all ages and faiths, of their worth, individuality and power to positively impact and shape our world. To date, more than 1,300 films, books, broadcast TV and cable programs, produced by such luminaries as Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Mike Nichols, Fred Rogers, Bruce Beresford, Ken Burns, Stephen E. Ambrose, Jonathan Kozol, Joan Bauer, Lois Lowry, and Jerry Pinkney, have won Christopher Awards. "The Christopher Awards are about more than acknowledging artistic excellence," said Gerald M. Costello, interim director of The Christophers. "They applaud creative works that, in varied ways, emulate the Christopher credo: 'It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.'" Fifty-five directors, screenwriters and producers will be honored for their work on six Feature Films -Amazing Grace; The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; The Great Debaters; Juno; The Kite Runner; and Ratatouille. The production teams responsible for five broadcast TV & Cable programs- Flashpoint: Kimberly Dozier and the Army's 4th I.D. -A Story of Bravery, Recovery and Loss (CBS-TV); In God's Name (CBS-TV); Longford (HBO); Pictures of Hollis Woods (CBS-TV); and The War miniseries (PBS/WETA Washington, DC)-will received Christopher Awards. The six winning Books for Adults include: Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat; The Florist's Daughter by Patricia Hampl; The Invisible Wall: A Love Story that Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein; The Lonely Patient: How We Experience Illness by Michael Stein, M.D.; A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Solider by Ishmael Beah; and A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom by David W. Blight. Five Books for Young People will be honored in age-specific categories. Preschool: Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things that Make Me Happy by Scott Menchin. Ages 6-8: How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Ages 8-10: Owen & Mzee: The Language of Friendship by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff & Dr. Paula Kahumbu, with photos by Peter Greste. Ages 10-12: The Wild Girls by Pat Murphy. Young Adult: Diamonds in the Shadow by Caroline B. Cooney. The program will also include the presentation of three meritorious awards. The 2008 Christopher Life Achievement Award recognizes Pulitzer Prize- winning author/historian David McCullough. Cardinal John P. Foley will receive the 2008 Christopher Leadership Award for more than four decades of distinguished service to church-media relations; and the 2008 Special Christopher Award salutes "American Masters," from PBS Thirteen/WNET New York, for its 22 years of outstanding arts and culture programming. To be eligible for a Christopher Award, feature films, TV and cable programs, and books must exhibit exceptional artistic and technical proficiency, a significant degree of public visibility and, above all, they must affirm the highest values of the human spirit. Potential winners are nominated and reviewed throughout the year by panels of media professionals; members of The Christophers' staff with expertise in film, TV and publishing; and by professionally supervised children's reading groups. The Christophers, a nonprofit organization founded in 1945 by Maryknoll priest 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.
Visit www.christophers.org to learn more about the Christopher Awards. Contact: Danielides Communications, Inc. Meghan Sitcoske 212-319-7566 Meghan@danielides.net
SOURCE The Christophers