Saint Patrick the Forgiver from IVP Kids has won the 2023 Bronze Moonbeam Children’s Book Award in the spirituality and religion category.

This is Ned Bustard’s second Moonbeam Award. His first children’s book with IVP Kids, Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver, also won a Bronze Moonbeam Award in 2021. “It’s been such a joy to work with Ned Bustard on several books for IVP Kids!” said IVP Kids editor Elissa Schauer. “Saint Patrick the Forgiver reminds us that March 17 is about so much more than shamrocks and leprechauns, because Saint Patrick led a remarkable life of love and faith and forgiveness.”

Launched in 2007, the Moonbeam Awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and to celebrate children’s books and lifelong reading. The purpose of the Moonbeam Awards is to highlight books that encourage children to be generous and compassionate, and to stand up for the rights of themselves and others. The awards attract nearly 1,500 entries from around the world.

Saint Patrick the Forgiver is a retelling of the fascinating life of the real Saint Patrick. After escaping from slavery in Ireland, Patrick is prompted by God’s love to return to the land of his captivity and share the Christian faith with its inhabitants. Saint Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and is Ireland’s patron saint.

Bustard, who is both the author and illustrator of Saint Patrick the Forgiver, said, “I’m third-generation Irish with my family coming from Donegal in the northwest region of the island. I feel like, in many ways, Patrick is my saint. Certainly, my family grew up in an area that was Christian because of the work of Patrick. My faith heritage can be traced through to him.”

Bustard also added, “Saint Patrick gives us examples of what it looks like to live a life of forgiveness. He also shows us what it looks like to give up our lives for the kingdom of God. . . . Saint Patrick is a bridge to our culture across which we can walk to discuss what real Christianity looks like. Many people may not have heard of Saint John or Saint Matthew, but they will have heard of Saint Patrick. For those with children in their lives, they can honor Saint Patrick’s Day as a day to celebrate with Irish food and music while focusing on God’s work through the life of Saint Patrick, which is why this book can be helpful.”

Bustard is a graphic designer, a children’s book illustrator, an author, and a printmaker. As the creative director for Square Halo Books Inc. and curator of the Square Halo Gallery, he has lectured at colleges, schools, churches, and conferences. His work is found in numerous titles including Saint Nicholas the GiftgiverThe O in HopeRevealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups, and Every Moment Holy. He lives with his family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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