Winning Reads for Kids and Teens

It’s always fun to learn that books you’ve enjoyed have won awards! It’s even better when you’ve met an author or have a local connection. That’s the case with two books for kids and teens from Pauline Books and Media, both of which won Excellence in Publishing Awards from the Association of Catholic Publishers this week.

If you’re looking for books for your children and teens this summer, I highly recommend these two!

A Single Bead by Stephanie Engelman

Stephanie Engelman, whom I met last summer at the Catholic Marketing Network tradeshow and Catholic Writers Guild Conference, proves that a story doesn’t have to be edgy to be compelling. In her YA novel, A Single Bead (Pauline Teen, 2016) teenage Kate finds faith in an unlikely way: through the stories of others who have been touched by the prayers of her grandmother, killed in a plane crash a year ago.

From my review: The novel opens with Kate’s extended family gathered around the plane-crash site for a memorial service. Needing a moment to get away from the tension and grief, Kate stumbles toward a wooded area where she finds a shiny bead–one from her grandmother’s custom-made rosary that had silver beads with the initials of her loves ones engraved on each. Kate doesn’t find just any bead. She finds the one with her own initials on it.

Kate and her cousins go on to discover that other beads have been found, and that the people who received them have experienced physical or emotional healing. Could it be that her grandmother’s prayers have such a deep effect?

Thus begins a journey of faith for Kate, whose extended family is deeply Catholic but whose own immediate family is less engaged in the faith. But faith is exactly what’s needed, because Kate’s mom has fallen into a deep depression after the plane crash a year ago. Kate hopes that finding other pieces of the rosary will help heal her mom.

This compelling novel is appropriate for students in grades 5 and up and challenges the reader to lay aside the idea that a prayer or a sacramental can be a “magical” thing. It is refreshing to read about an extended family whose life is centered on faith.


32 days

Author Ellen Lucey Prozeller writes from my diocese (Trenton, NJ). Her book, 32 Days: A Story of Faith and Courage, is a historical fiction account of the life of a little girl in China who, with her family, was forced to practice her Catholic faith in secret.

From my review: After her church was desecrated by Communist soldiers, Pei makes the risky decision to sneak into the church at night to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. The story is told from Pei’s point of view. Readers in grades 3 through 5 will learn about a child their own age who lives her faith in a time of oppression: a young, unknown Catholic hero.

Winning Reads for Kids and Teens

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchase through these links helps support this blog. Thank you! I was given a free review copy of this book, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.


Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

We Interrupt your Thanksgiving Preparations…

…to bring you some Blog Awards!!

I’m terribly flattered to have received some wonderful awards over the past few weeks, and now it’s time to say THANK YOU, and to pass them on. And so, in no particular order, here we go:

The Mathetes Award for excellence in discipleship from Rob at Kyrie Eleison and Amy Caroline at Knit Together in Love.

“Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the
Great Commission) is to make more disciples. I’d like to take the opportunity to
award five other bloggers with this award and badge for acting in the role of a
disciple of Christ. These five all share the message in their own creative ways,
and I admire them all for what they do.

In the spirit of this award, the rules are simple. Winners of this award must pick five other “disciples” to pass it on to. As you pass it on, I just ask that you mention and provide links for (1) this post as the originator of the award (Dan King of management by God), (2) the person that awarded it to you, and then (3) name and sites of the five that you believe are fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ.If you know of other deserving recipients of this award, and would like to start a new string, then please post a link to where you’ve started in the comments to this post. I would love for many deserving bloggers to be blessed with this recognition.”

This is awarded to:
Esther, the Hawaii Catholic Mom
Sarah at Just Another Day in Catholic Pondering
Barbara (scmom) at Praying for Grace (and her recipes rock too!)
Denise, the Catholic Matriarch in My Domestic Church

The Reflection Blogger Award from Sara at the Estrogen Files.

The reason for the title of this award is because this award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy… of knowing them and being blessed by them.

This award is for the best-of-the-best so consider who you pick, carefully. This award should not be given to just anyone. If you’re going to do the award don’t just write a few words and slap it on your blog. Write real thoughts about these bloggers and what they’ve been to you, and if the bloggers you pick have already been given the award, don’t be afraid to give to them again. They deserve it as many times as it’s given.

Rules of participating:
1. Copy this post.
2. Reflect on five bloggers.
3. Make sure you link this post so others can read it and the rules.
4. Go leave your chosen bloggers a comment and let them know they’ve been given the award.
5. Put the award icon on your site.

I pass this along to:
Jean at Catholic Fire
Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
Christine of The Simple and the Ordinary
Our Lady’s Little Scribe

And the Spirit of Christmas Award from Patjrsmom at Building the Ark and Barbara (scmom) at Praying for Grace.

What is the Spirit of Christmas, you ask?
Quite simply it is those that have a generous and giving nature. Those who care about others. Those who have a kind word to say or a broad shoulder to lean on in the times that others need that. Those who display the “Spirit of Christmas”.
-from the award creator

This one goes to:
The Kitchen Madonna
Aimee at The Mother Load

Last but not least, the Nice Matters Award comes here from Aimee at The Mother Load.

I’m awarding it to Sara at The Estrogen Files
Milehimama at Mama Says…

I don’t have 5 for each….but there’s plenty to go around.
And of course, I’m a great believer in reciprocal giving, so if you gave me one of these awards, it’s bouncing right back to you.

Thanks again!

Awards Night

Which, I might say, are long overdue!

Some of my fellow bloggers have been kind enough to give me some virtual awards, and it’s high time I return the favor. I’m not paying attention to whether these winners have already been given this award, because I’m giving it to these folks regardless. There are some wonderful, smart, funny, sweet, faithful people out there in Blogland, and it’s my privilege to know these:

Received from Jean at Catholic Fire and Aimee at The Mother Load.

It is my honor to pass this award along by mentioning some of the writers whose reflections have touched me:
Denise, the Catholic Matriarch in My Domestic Church
The Kitchen Madonna
Sarah, of Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering
Lindsey at Enjoy the Journey

received from Sarah at Just another day of Catholic pondering

I’d love to say “You rock!” to:
Amy at R.C. Mommy
Aimee at The Mother Load


The Kitchen Madonna honored me with this one, and I’d like to hand it to:
Jean at Catholic Fire
Michelle of Rosetta Stone
Christine of Domestic Vocation and Rambling Catholic Soccer Mom
Father Daren at Servant and Steward
All of these writers give me plenty to consider when I read their blogs.


received from Denise at Catholic Matriarch in My Domestic Church, Jean at Catholic Fire and Sarah at Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering.

Besides giving this one right back to the ones who gave it to me, I want to pass this award along to:
Ellen From Across the Net
Amy at R.C. Mommy
Christine M of The Simple and the Ordinary
Michelle of Rosetta Stone

Congratulations to all of you!