Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book Review: "Olivia and the Little Way"

Olivia and the Little Way
by Nancy Carabio Belanger
Illustrated by Sandra Casali LewAllen
Rochester, MI: Harvey House Publishing, 2008

"Olivia and the Little Way" by Nancy Carabio Belanger is a sweet story about a fifth grader who is struggling to follow St. Therese. Her grandmother is the person who first introduces Olivia to the wonderful example of St. Therese. She shares how she asked that saint for help in finding a nice man to marry who believed in God. She prayed a novena (a prayer repeated over the course of nine days)and then waited for a rose (the symbol of St. Therese) as a sign that her prayer had been heard. She waited three long years for that rose, but it finally came the same day she met her future husband.

Olivia admires St. Therese's little way of making small sacrifices and tries to emulate her as best she can. She prays to St. Therese for help in making friends at her new school and for guidance in making good decisions. Olivia is a real girl. She doesn't always do the right thing. She succumbs to peer pressure and gets in trouble with her parents. She keeps trying, however, and St. Therese does help both her and her friends out. Though it takes a while, she finally does get her rose.

This is a lovely story written for tweens, especially tween girls. It helps introduce readers to the Little Way as well as keep them engrossed with the storyline. One truly cares about Olivia and her friends in reading this book.

Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

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