Faith, Media & Culture

Faith, Media & Culture

Vanessa Hudgens to star in pregnant teen drama + “Odette’s Secrets” gets Bluebonnet nomination + Grammy-winner Steven Curtis supports adoption

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

No High School Musical. Former Disney Channel star Vanessa Hudgens will get a chance to demonstrate her acting chops in Gimme Shelter. Set for an early 2014 release, Hudgens plays Apple, a homeless pregnant teenager whose life is turned around when she lands in a suburban shelter for homeless teens. Word is her performance is mesmerizing. Inspired by a true story, the movie is written, produced and directed by Ronald Krauss (Amexica) who financed the film through his Day 28 Films banner, along with producer Jeff Rice and co-producers Joshua Amir and Dylan Russell. Roadside Attractions has acquired the U.S. rights to the film which also stars Brendan Fraser, Rosario Dawson, James Earl Jones and Ann Dowd.


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Update. Children’s author Maryann Macdonald, who I recently interviewed on the occasion of the release of her latest book The Christmas Cat, has been honored with a Texas Bluebonnet Award nomination for her previous work, the character-driven historical novel Odette’s Secrets (Bloomsbury Publishing). The nomination was recently announced at the Texas Book Festival. A sort of kid-lit People’s Choice Award, students in grades three through six read at least five titles in January and then vote for the winner.


Set in France during World War II, “Odette’s Secrets” tells the true story of a Jewish child who survives WWII by hiding in plain sight with the help of Christian friends.

The Texas Bluebonnet Award dates back to 1981 when the first winner was Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary.   Other well-loved winners include Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate diCamillo and The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick.

Macdonald has written 25 books for children. Her new holiday book, The Christmas Cat, builds on the legend of a feline who helped the Baby Jesus fall asleep in the manger.  



November is National Adoption Month. Making productive note of that fact, Show Hope, a nonprofit orphan care ministry founded by Grammy winner Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth, will be joining supporters in the coming weeks to continue to raise awareness about the need for finding loving and permanent homes for children all over the world.

Show Hope recently launched the #BrownBag4Hope social media campaign with the goal of gaining 10,000 sponsors to help 10,000 orphans over the next 10 years. The social media campaign is set to bring awareness to Show Hope’s 10-year anniversary 10,000 Campaign.  As part of the campaign, Show Hope has been encouraging individuals to take their own lunch to work or school each week, tweet photos of their brown bag lunches by tagging #BrownBag4Hope, and become monthly Show Hope sponsors with the cost savings. On average, supporters could be donating $36 per month by forgoing buying lunch each week. For more information, visit

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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