ACP Announces 2024 Excellence in Publishing Award Winners

BALTIMORE, MD — The Association of Catholic Publishers (ACP) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2024 Excellence in Publishing Awards.

First, second, and third place honors were awarded to publishers and authors of the best Catholic content in the following categories—Biography, Children’s Books: Young Readers, Children’s Books: Picture Books, General Interest, Inspirational, Music: Distinguished Catholic Composer, Music: Liturgical Music Resource, Music: Song of the Year, Prayer, Resources for Liturgy, Resources for Ministry, Scripture, Spirituality, and Theology. Only first place was awarded in Fiction, Children’s Books: Teens, and Spanish.

The Resource of the Year Award will be determined by a separate panel of judges from among the 18 first place winners (Children’s Books: Young Readers had a tie for first place) and announced later this summer.

There are three interesting notes about this year’s winners.

  • All three biography winners focus on prominent 20th century individuals including two women.
  • Murder at Penwood Manor (Loyola Press) is the third title of the Harwood Mystery trilogy to win an award in the Teen category.
  • Merton and Pope Francis continue to be recognized as inspirational thinkers and leaders, winning first and third place the Inspirational category.

The 46 award winners were produced by 15 different publishers with the 18 first place winners published by 12 different publishers. This year’s winners continue the pattern of representing a wide number of publishers with 7 publishers having 3-6 winning titles. The largest number of winners—6—are from two liturgical publishers, one in music and one in trade.

The winners by category are:


1. Caryll Houselander: A Biography (Mary Frances Coady, Orbis Books)

2. Katharine Drexel and the Sisters Who Shared Her Vision (Margaret M. McGuinness, Paulist Press)

3. Tolkien's Faith: A Spiritual Biography (Holly Ordway, Word on Fire Publishing).

Children’s Books: Picture Books

1. Jesus in Space: A True Story That’s Out of This World (Written by Cecilia Cicone, illustrated by Gabhor Utomo, Pauline Books & Media)

2. Go and Fear Nothing: The Story of Our Lady of Champion (Written by Patrick O'Hearn, Illustrated by Ann Kissane Engelhart, OSV)

3. Bless the Lord (Illustrated by Eileen Ryan Ewen, Word on Fire Publishing)


Children’s Books: Young Readers

1. (tied) Detective Thomas and the Biggest Question (Caitlin E. Bootsma with illustrations by Evie Schwartzbauer, OSV)

1. (tied) Saintly Creatures: 14 Tales of Animals and Their Holy Companions (Alexi Sargeant, Word on Fire Publishing)

3. (tied) An Adoration Treasury for Young Catholics (Written by Sr. Mary Bosco Davis, OSF, and Sr. M. Lissetta Gettinger, OSF, Illustrated by Evie Schwartzbauer, OSV)

3. (tied) Jesus and Me: Talking with My Greatest Friend (Melissa Kirking, Ascension)


Children’s Books: Teens

1. Murder at Penwood Manor (Antony Barone Kolenc, Loyola Press)



1. I, Julian (Claire Gilbert, Hodder Faith)


General Interest

1. The Church's Mission in a Polarized World (Fr. Robert Aaron Wessman, New City Press)

2. Start Talking to Your Kids about Sex (Julia Sadusky, Ave Maria Press)

3. Socrates' Children (Peter Kreeft, Word on Fire Publishing)



1. A Retreat with Thomas Merton: A Seven-Day Spiritual Journey (Esther de Waal, Liturgical Press)

2. Simply Love: Catholic Marriage Day by Day (Troy and Kathleen Billings, OSV)

3. Christmas at the Nativity (Pope Francis, New City Press)


Music: Distinguished Catholic Composer of the Year

1. Iván Díaz (OCP)

2.(tied) Ed Bolduc (GIA Publications, Inc.)

2.(tied) Peter Kolar (GIA Publications, Inc.)


Music: Liturgical Music Resource

1. Sanctus: Psalter + Salterio (Various, GIA Publications, Inc.)

2. Flor Y Canto 4 (Various, OCP)

3. The Divine Office Hymnal (ICEL, USCCB, GIA Publications, Inc.)


Music: Song of the Year

1. Corpus Christi Sequence (Ed Bolduc, GIA Publications, Inc.)

2. In the Breaking of the Bread (Liam Lawton, Arranged by Ed Bolduc, GIA Publications, Inc.)

3. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy (Steve Angrisano and Sarah Hart, OCP)



1. Come to Me: Living the Nine First Fridays (Sr. Anne Flanagan, FSP, Pauline Books & Media);

2. When You Pray: A Clear Path to a Deeper Relationship with God (Edward Sri, Ascension)

3. Come to Me, All of You: Stations of the Cross in the Voice of Christ (Amy Ekeh; Art by Gabrielle Rowell, Liturgical Press)


Resources for Liturgy

1. Liturgy and Life Study Bible (Edited by Paul Turner and John W. Martens, Liturgical Press)

2. Jesus and Me: Talking with My Greatest Friend (Melissa Kirking, Ascension)

3. Renewed: Your Journey to First Reconciliation (Ascension)


Resources for Ministry

1. Building a Firm Foundation: An Invitation to Parents of Children Preparing for Sacraments (Marylynn D. Wesson, D.Min., OSV)

2. (tied) New Ways and Next Steps: Developing Parish LGBTQ+ Ministry (Francis DeBernardo, Liturgical Press)

2. (tied) Received: Your Journey to First Communion (Ascension)



1. Words of Faith: A Vocabulary of Paul the Apostle (Brendan Byrne, SJ, Paulist Press)

2. The Gospel of Peace: A Commentary on Matthew, Mark, and Luke from the Perspective of Nonviolence (John Dear, Orbis Books)

3. The Most Important Words of Jesus (Gerhard Lohfink, Liturgical Press)



1. Despiertos (Dr. Jo Ann Paradise, Pflaum Publishing Group)



1. Seeing with the Heart (Kevin O'Brien, SJ, Loyola Press)

2. Return: A Guided Lent Journal for Prayer and Meditation (Fr. John Burns, Ave Maria Press)

3. Prepare Your Heart: A Guided Advent Journal for Prayer and Meditation (Fr. Agustino Torres, CFR, Ave Maria Press)



1. Reforming the Church: Global Perspectives (Edited by Declan Marmion and Salvador Ryan, Liturgical Press)

2. Ecomartyrdom in the Americas: Living and Dying for our Common Home (Elizabeth O'Donnell Gandolfo, Orbis Books)

3. Mary and the Liturgical Year: A Pastoral Resource (Katharine E. Harmon, Liturgy Training Publications)

Each category was judged by a three-person panel, which reviewed and evaluated the entries. A brief explanation of each category can be found at

The Association of Catholic Publishers (ACP) is a membership organization of Catholic publishers, those who provide services to Catholic publishers, and individuals who work with Catholic publishers. The ACP provides opportunities for members to further the Catholic publishing industry, promote Catholic publishing and reading, and engage those they interact with, including retailers, pastoral leaders, individual customers, and staff.