NEW YORK, March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- (http://www.myprgenie.com) -- A young adventurer risks his life to reunite trafficked children with their families and African-American maids in the South reclaim their dignity through sharing their stories. These accounts and more are told in the 22 feature films, TV/Cable programs, and books for adults and young people being honored with Christopher Awards, to be presented in New York on May 24th, 2012.
Created in 1949, The Christopher Awards are presented to writers, producers, directors and illustrators whose work affirms the highest values of the human spirit.
Real-life "horse whisperer" Buck Brannaman, who transcended a childhood with an abusive father to become a gentle healer of troubled horses and human beings, is the subject of the Cedar Creek Productions/IFC documentary, Buck. From DreamWorks Pictures and Touchstone Pictures, The Help gives voice to African-American housemaids in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. Jim Henson's charming characters are introduced to a new generation in Walt Disney Pictures' The Muppets, reuniting Miss Piggy and friends, who learn about the importance of laughter and the enduring power of friendship. Sony Pictures Classics' Of Gods and Men dramatizes the true story of French monks in civil war torn Algeria whose desire for safety competes with their commitment to serve the needs of the local populace. From DreamWorks Pictures, War Horse revisits the courage, sacrifice and devastation of World War I through a story of unwavering devotion between a young man and his horse. In ARC Entertainment's The Way, an American doctor honors his late son and discovers his need for faith, community and forgiveness while completing a historical pilgrimage.
TV & Cable
Non-violent activism in the face of racial injustice rests at the heart of the Emmy Award-winning American Experience: Freedom Riders (PBS/WGBH) about courageous black and white Americans who endured mob violence to desegregate interstate travel in the South in 1961. For viewers of all faiths, Rev. Robert Barron's 10-part mini-series, Catholicism (PBS/Word on Fire Ministries), travels around the world to explore the history, beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church through spiritual commentary and visuals of artistic treasures. Friendships with his old rabbi and an inner city minister awaken author Mitch Albom's long dormant quest for God in this Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation of his best-seller, Have a Little Faith (ABC-TV). The Oprah Winfrey Network's first original documentary, Serving Life (OWN), explores the hospice program inside a Louisiana maximum security prison where hardened criminals find redemption by caring for the dying. The Academy Award-winning documentary Strangers No More (HBO) highlights the Bialik-Rogozin School in Israel, which offers hope and a home to children fleeing poverty, political adversity and genocide in other countries.
Books for Adults
A deep compassion for children is the common theme in the five Books For Adults winners. Amy Julia Becker's memoir A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group) relates how the disappointment and fear she and her husband experienced after their daughter, Penny, was born with Down Syndrome were transformed into a new understanding of parental love, God's grace, and strength in weakness. In An Invisible Thread (Howard Books/Simon & Schuster) by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski, Schroff, a former ad executive, chronicles her friendship with an 11-year-old homeless boy that helped them both find healing from violent, troubled childhoods. I Shall Not Hate (Bloomsbury) shares Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish's devotion to reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, even though his daughters had been killed by Israeli soldiers in 2009. In Kisses from Katie (Howard Books/Simon & Schuster) by Katie Davis and Beth Clark, Davis recalls moving to Uganda after graduating high school, becoming a foster mother to 13 children, and creating a ministry that feeds, heals and educates over 1,000 children a week. Reuniting stolen children in Nepal with their families is at the forefront of Conor Grennan's Little Princes (William Morrow/Harper Collins Publishers).
Books for Young People
From Katrina-ravaged New Orleans to rural Colombia to war-torn Afghanistan and beyond, the Books for Young People category's six winners reflect themes such as literacy, pursuing goals, and dealing with disabilities. For preschoolers, author Genny Monchamp and illustrator Karol Kaminski demonstrate fun and simple ways to build character in Shine: Choices to Make God Smile (Pauline Books and Media). In Waiting for the Biblioburro (Tricycle Press/Random House Children's Books), author Monica Brown and illustrator John Parra craft a tale for kindergartners inspired by librarian Luis Soriano who carries books to children in rural Colombia on two donkeys. For ages 6 to 8, Super Bowl-winning football coach Tony Dungy, his wife Lauren, and illustrator Ron Mazellan present a story about considering the needs of someone with a disability in You Can Be a Friend (Little Simon Inspirations/Simon & Schuster). For 8 to 10 year olds, author Jane Paley fictionalizes her own adopted dog's dramatic rescue from Hurricane Katrina and how he made it to New York City in Hooper Finds a Family (Harper Collins Children's Books). In former Army soldier Trent Reedy's Words in the Dust (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic Books), readers 10 to 12 are given a fictional, but fact-based look at the choices and challenges of a poetry-loving Afghani girl with a cleft lip who yearns for a brighter future. For young adults, Newbery Honor winner Joan Bauer's Close to Famous (Viking/Penguin Young Readers Group) incorporates humor and heart with serious issues like reading disabilities, grief and abuse in this story about a 12-year-old girl's struggle to find her place in the world while pursuing her dream of becoming a professional baker.
Founded by Maryknoll Father James Keller, The Christophers 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 all its programs. For more information, visit www.christophers.org.
SOURCE The Christophers