Meet Olivia . . . Fifth grader Olivia Thomas has moved to a new school in a new state, and is eager to make friends! Her best friend quickly becomes someone she has never seen – St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
Follow Olivia's trials as she tries to fit in at St. Michael's School. With the help of her grandmother, she learns about the "Little Way" of serving God and how it can change everything!
Nancy Carabio Belanger's touching book, targeted toward girls and boys age 8-13, is beautifully illustrated by Sandra Casali LewAllen.
Reviews of this book –
"How does a fifth-grade girl reconcile the challenges of school and getting along with her fellow classmates with her desire to follow the “little way” of St. Therese? That is the heart of this endearing story. Sometimes she is ruled by her desire to fit in with the “in group” at school, but when she hurts others; her conscience is sensitive enough to want to make amends.
Nancy Belanger captures the struggles children deal with when their peers are unkind and untruthful. She has good insight into the motives which often lead children to do what they shouldn’t , and she understands the need children have to feel accepted. She also captures the close relationship between Olivia and her grandmother and shows how such a relationship can be just what a child needs during difficult times.
Olivia’s grandmother introduces her to St. Therese by giving her a chaplet. She tells her stories about the young saint and tells Olivia that St. Therese is a trusted friend. Grandma Rosemary’s anecdotes about St. Therese serve her when she is tempted to do wrong. Many times, she chooses to do the right thing; at other times she ignores the voice of St. Therese working on her conscience. Olivia is familiar with the belief that St. Therese gives roses as a sign of her favor, and she desperately wants one; but it is long in coming.
This book is a good read for children from fourth grade on up. Not only is it well written, but every chapter begins with a quote from St. Therese. Through stories told by Grandma Rosemary, the reader learns about many facets of St. Therese’s life and spirituality. Children can relate to the struggles faced by Olivia in the face of temptation, because they are the struggles we all face at one time or another.
This is a book that nourishes the soul and teaches while it entertains. I will pass it on to my fourth-grade granddaughter who loves to read and loves to read about the saints. " – Fran Rutherford, Catholic author
"This endearing story gave me a new appreciation for St. Therese's spirituality and how it can be applied in our everyday lives. Olivia and the Little Way made this year's celebration of St. Therese's feast day much more meaningful for me." – Sr. Barbara Berg, Director of Religious Education, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower, San Antonio, TX.
"What a beautiful story for young minds! What a beautiful story for young souls! It is refreshing to see a book of this type that engages young hearts to grow in holiness. It really shows how our little ones can grow by learning, loving, and relating to the saints." – Rev. James R. Rafferty, St. Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church, Rockwood, MI.
"Olivia and the Little Way by Nancy Carabio Belanger is one of my favorite new books for a few reasons. First off, it is a wonderful and engaging story. Secondly, without being dogmatic the author is able to lovingly teach the reader about many of the important precepts of St. Therese of Lisieux, one of our most important saints and a Doctor of the Church. The life lessons shared in this book are wonderful for a middle school aged audience, but the story will capture the hearts of a much more broad audience (including the moms of those middle schoolers!). I'm hoping that this will be the first of many books to come from this author and that you will enjoy this book as much as I did!" – Lisa Hendley, webmaster of Catholic Mom Online.