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Collins & Proimos Named Christopher Award Winners

The stories of a corporate executive who left his job to help break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy among inner city teens, an athlete who withstood racial hatred to break baseball’s color barrier, and the autobiographical story of a girl in first grade who tries to stay brave while her father is fighting in Vietnam are among 19 feature films, TV/Cable programs, and books for adults and young people being honored with Christopher Awards.

Created in 1949, The Christopher Awards are presented to writers, producers, directors, and illustrators whose work affirms the highest values of the human spirit. Tony Rossi, The Christophers’ director of communications, says, “In a culture where hope can be in short supply, we joyfully celebrate the creative artists behind these winning works.”

The honorees were announced on April 2. The 65th annual presentation of the awards is scheduled to take place in New York on May 15.

Sandy Hook-based author Suzanne Collins and illustrator James Proimos, from Baltimore, Md., have been named winners of a 2014 Christopher Award for Year of the Jungle: Memories from the Home Front, written for children in kindergarten and up (Scholastic Press). The author’s autobiographical picture book recalls her attempts as a first-grader to stay brave while her father fought in Vietnam, and explores the effect of war on young children.

Ms Collins is also the author of the bestselling The Hunger Games trilogy, also illustrated by Mr Proimos. She is also the creator of the best-selling Underland Chronicles, which started with Gregor the Overlander. Mr Proimos is the creator of Swim! Swim!, Knuckle and Potty Destroy Happy World, 12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn, and many other books for children of all ages.

Year of the Jungle is one of ten books for adults and young people being recognized this year. In addition, creators of nine feature films and TV/Cable programs will receive awards.

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. An ancient Chinese proverb — “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness” — guides its publishing, radio, leadership, and awards programs.

Also named as recipients of The Christopher Awards this year are the following:

TV & Cable: ABC News 20/20, for the segment “Unbreakable” (ABC News); Bulloch Family Ranch: Episode One (UP-TV); Jerzy Popieluszko: Messenger of the Truth (WTTW National Productions/PBS); Life According to Sam (HBO Documentary Films); and POV: Brooklyn Castle (PBS).

Feature Films: 42 (Warner Bros Pictures), Frozen (Walt Disney Pictures), Gimme Shelter (Day 28 Films/Roadside Attractions), and Gravity (Warner Bros Pictures).

Books For Adults: American Story: A Lifetime Search for Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things by Bob Dotson (Viking Press/Penguin Group), Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship Shared in Letters by Amy Andrews and Jessica Mesman Griffith (Loyola Press), The Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier, and Korean War Hero by Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying (Ignatius Press), On These Courts: A Miracle Season That Changed a City, a Once-Future Star, and a Team Forever by Wayne B. Drash (Touchstone Books/Simon and Schuster) and Walk In Their Shoes: Can One Person Change the World? By Jim Ziolkowski with James S. Hirsch (Simon and Schuster).

Books For Young People: Preschool & Up: Maya Was Grumpy written and illustrated by Courtney Pippin-Mathur ((Flashlight Press); Ages 6 & Up: The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline (Candlewick Press); Ages 8 & Up: Flora & Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell (Candlewick Press); and Ages 10 & Up, The Boy On the Wooden Box, by Leon Leyson with Marilyn J. Harran and Elisabeth B. Leyson (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing).

Published in September 2013, Year of The Jungle has already picked up a number of awards, including Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, 2014 Gryphon Honor for Children’s Literature, and Parents’ Choice Silver Honor. It was named a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, one of Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year 2013, Booklist Editors’ Choice 2013, a 2014 Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book, and placed on the Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens, 2014 List.

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