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Olivia and the Little Way [Paperback]

Nancy Carabio Belanger , Sandra Casali LewAllen
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 31 2008
Catholic fiction for preteens

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Review

"...a real delight for yourself and your kids, a great way to immerse yourself and your 'tweens in the Little Way. I was completely pulled in by the story, which reads like Anne of Green Gables in that it is timeless and relevant." —Cheryl Dickow, author and president, Bezalel Books "Nancy Carabio 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.... This is a book that nourishes the soul and teaches while it entertains." --Fran Rutherford, book reviewer --Tiber River Catholic Book Reviews "This book offers a unique and fresh way to celebrate the life of St. Therese of Lisieux. It is a wonderful and engaging novel suitable for all but especially for tweens. They can share Olivia s life lessons as she deals with different relationships and real challenges." --The Catholic Press Association announcing Olivia and the Little Way as an award winner --The Catholic Press Association of the U.S. and Canada

About the Author

Nancy Carabio Belanger has loved to write ever since she was a little girl. She used to write fiction stories in math class when she was supposed to be listening to the teacher, a practice she certainly does not recommend to her readers. She has a great love for St. Therese of Lisieux, and can relate to the great saint's sometimes tempestuous and oversensitive personality. She says that Therese's Little Way is a reminder to all of us who feel like we can't do enough: we can all make little sacrifices to please God. A graduate of Michigan State University, she lives with her husband and two sons in Michigan. "Olivia and the Little Way" is a 2009 Catholic Press Association book award winner, children's books. It is also a recipient of the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. The sequel, "Olivia's Gift," has also won an award from the Catholic Press Association, and is a recipient of the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. Her newest Catholic novel for pre-teens is "The Gate." It is the first-place winner for Best Catholic Novel in the Catholic Press Association 2014 Book Awards.

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Customer Reviews

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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This first book in the delightful series by acclaimed author Nancy Carabio Belanger is a welcome and much needed contribution to modern children's literature. The publishing community agrees; both books are award-winners and have received considerable acclaim from not only their target audience but also from adults who recognize the immeasurable and eternal value within their pages. Teachers who have joyfully discovered the series are using the books in their classrooms as part of their curricula, to the delight of both male and female students.

In both Olivia and the Little Way and its sequel,Olivia's Gift, readers are treated to ample stories loaded with beautiful details. The fact that both stories keep readers engaged while respecting their great dignity sets these books far, far apart from the meaningless and copycat material marketed to young people today. Both books are ideal for readers of all ethnicities and faiths.

The books' publisher, Harvey House Publishing, provides material that celebrates modesty, the gift of life, Catholicism, and a wholesome childhood. Anyone looking for exceptional quality, award-winning, entertaining and worthwhile books for children will find them all in this series. The books make exceptional additions to classrooms and children's libraries. They are also ideal teacher gifts because they keep on giving.

Reviewed by Michele Bondi Bottesi, Publisher, Joseph Karl Publishing
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Book! Jan. 7 2012
Format:Paperback
Olivia and the Little Way is a delightful children's novel about Olivia Thomas, a ten year old who moves with her family from Texas to Michigan. She is nervous about going to a new school so her grandmother gives her a St. Thérèse chaplet and tells her about `The Little Way,' that St. Thérèse believed that "you can show your love for God by doing little things for Him with great love."

As each day goes by, Olivia learns how to love others through the Little Way. Later in the story, however, she makes a poor choice and must deal with the consequences. Olivia is frustrated and admits that the Little Way is not always easy. Her grandmother tells her, "You cannot expect to follow the Little Way without some hardship along the way. It is a work in progress. Do not get discouraged...God does not expect perfection; He only wants you to try your best every day." This is wonderful advice, not only for Olivia, but for all of us.

St. Thérèse has been one of my favorite saints since I visited Lisieux as a teenager many years ago, so I especially enjoyed this book and the St. Thérèse quotes at the beginning of each chapter. In this well-written and engaging novel, author Nancy Carabio Belanger illustrates St. Thérèse's Little Way in a delightful and unique approach without being preachy or dogmatic. I highly recommend this wonderful book not only for children, but for anyone interested in following the Little Way.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Simple book with a loudly preachy message Jan. 3 2012
Format:Paperback
My 11 yr old received this, and its sequel, as a gift recently. As an avid reader, she was thrilled to open books, but her face fell when she saw the cover. I immediately recognized it to have the religious publisher didactic look to it, but didn't say anything and just watched how she'd react. I remember receiving gifts of poorly written, boring books that hit you over the head with their Biblical message on How to Be a Good Christian, and this appeared to be of that ilk. After reading the description on the back cover, she asked me if she had to read this book. I told her of course not, although she might want to try it to see if it was as bad as she was assuming. A few days later she brought them to me and emphatically told me she wasn't interested.

Just to see if these were as bad as the Bible fiction I'd read as a child, I started reading Olivia and the Little Way. Instead of preaching Biblical principles, this book's purpose is to inculcate the reader with the tenets of Therese of Lisieux, and 19th century Catholic nun who is also known as the Little Flower. Olivia's grandmother teaches her to pray to the saint, and to follow St. Therese's "Little Way," which is basically practicing random acts of kindness and a secret self-denial. Except Therese doesn't do this out of unselfish altruism, but instead to garner points with God, as her goal was sainthood.

Olivia sets out to follow this Little Way, but of course she's human and has struggles. In two instances, the author has Olivia "successfully" practice in a way that I find morally questionable and I certainly don't want my child to do. One involved a self-sacrifice based on an unfounded judgement of a person and situation, and the second involved taking punishment for something she didn't do.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Book! May 13 2010
By Ellen Gable Hrkach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Olivia and the Little Way is a delightful children's novel about Olivia Thomas, a ten year old who moves with her family from Texas to Michigan. She is nervous about going to a new school so her grandmother gives her a St. Thérèse chaplet and tells her about `The Little Way,' that St. Thérèse believed that "you can show your love for God by doing little things for Him with great love."

As each day goes by, Olivia learns how to love others through the Little Way. Later in the story, however, she makes a poor choice and must deal with the consequences. Olivia is frustrated and admits that the Little Way is not always easy. Her grandmother tells her, "You cannot expect to follow the Little Way without some hardship along the way. It is a work in progress. Do not get discouraged...God does not expect perfection; He only wants you to try your best every day." This is wonderful advice, not only for Olivia, but for all of us.

St. Thérèse has been one of my favorite saints since I visited Lisieux as a teenager many years ago, so I especially enjoyed this book and the St. Thérèse quotes at the beginning of each chapter. In this well-written and engaging novel, author Nancy Carabio Belanger illustrates St. Thérèse's Little Way in a delightful and unique approach without being preachy or dogmatic. I highly recommend this wonderful book not only for children, but for anyone interested in following the Little Way.

Ellen Gable Hrkach
award-winning author
In Name Only
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just for Little Ones! Jan. 7 2009
By Lisa M. Hendey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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, 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 the most important saints and a Doctor of the Catholic 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 the those middle schoolers!)

I'm hoping that this will be the first of many books to come from author Nancy Carabio Belanger and that you will enjoy this book as much as I did!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional book for girls!!!! Oct. 17 2011
By MaryPat St.Jean - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love to read but I have have never written a review before. However, I just finished reading this book with my eight year old daughter and felt absolutley compelled to write about it! BOTH of my daughters (I also have an 11-year old) and I LOVED IT! While being an interesting story about the challenges of life for a fifth grade girl at a new school, it is also a great look at how to incorporate St. Therese's "Liitle Way" into everyday life, especially for a school age girl. It very cleverly weaves in the stories of personal challenges told by St. Therese herself in her autobiography "Story of a Soul". I am so greateful to have found a book for my tween daughters that is interesting, innocent, sweet, and yet very real.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This mom liked it a lot! Jan. 30 2009
By K. Bond - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A truly unique and fresh way to share the details of the life of a saint (in this case St. Therese of Lisieux) by making her an important ally in the life of a young girl. A real-life application of the riches of the saints is something we can all benefit from. Please write more!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Little Way" to Empower your tween with Confidence March 9 2011
By Cathy Randazzo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Author, Nancy Belanger, knows that on some level, we ALL (preteens, teens, and even adults) struggle to fit in. We wonder what everyone expects from us, how to act in certain situations, and yes, often cave to satisfy the "popular norm" even though it may not be our personal choice.

These little occurrences happen daily and we feel the stress of being true to our self and to our faith. "OLIVIA AND THE LITTLE WAY" (and don't miss it's sequel, "OLIVIA'S GIFT") take us on that journey with a young girl tempted as we all are, by the many material things life has to offer. She learns that some things, and some people, aren't as she thought ... thought of as friends. How does she [we] find the right path and, more challenging, the strength to walk it!

"OLIVIA" books will empower you to choose that path and the books are a delight to read. Entertaining and exciting with a story that conveys such a powerful message in such a subtle "little way." Tweens won't be able to put it down as each adventure draws them to the next chapter and they feel and see so much of themselves in Olivia and so much parallel in the daily pressures of growing up. Teen and adult readers will also be reminded by this delightful novel to choose their path wisely.

Highly recommend this book and the sequel, "Olivia's Gift"

Give a gift that's entertaining, fun, exciting, and adventurous mixed with a dose of faith, morals, values, and strength of character. Build a better tomorrow, one reader at a time! Enjoy and thank you Nancy for these treasures.
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