Christian Retailing

Bringing fresh new life to a familiar story Print Email
Written by By Leslie Paladino   
Monday, 06 July 2009 09:47 AM America/New_York

Award-winning author 'traps' human element in re-telling of Jesus' birth

Award-winning British author Geraldine McCaughrean has produced a classic new keepsake Christmas book. The Nativity Story (978-0-825-47878-9, hardcover, $14.95), published by Lion Books, and available in North America this month through Kregel Publications.

The author of the highly acclaimed Peter Pan in Scarlet, sequel to J.M. Barrie’s beloved Peter Pan, McCaughrean has been writing children’s books for more than 25 years, and has teamed with acclaimed illustrator Sophy Williams for the new release.

The familiar nativity story is retold for 5- to 7-year-olds with stylish illustrations, and incorporates the stories of biblical figures, including Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, John, the angels and the wise men.

“The words of The Nativity Story were first written as part of The Jesse Tree, a much bigger book for older readers,” McCaughrean explained.

“In order to create a picture book text and give Sophy Williams full scope for her delectable paintings, I melded the episodes together into a single flow,” she said. “I wanted to trap … the domestic feel of a little family struggling through difficult circumstances, and the immense upsurge of cosmic happiness that must have happened … that night.”

McCaughrean’s writing seeks to blend the human with the divine, staying true to the biblical story while interjecting aspects of the humanity behind the real experiences surrounding Jesus’ birth.

In the story of Mary, McCaughrean writes: “Elizabeth had a cousin. Her cousin Mary. Mary was a good girl. Everyone in Nazareth said so when they talked about her—although people probably never talked about her at all. Gossips are only interested in people’s faults and mistakes, and Mary did nothing wrong.”

“I would like parents and children to share this book,” McCaughrean said. “Ideally, I would like them both to be left turning handsprings of happiness across the Christmas carpet like the constellations above Bethlehem on Christmas.”

Illustrator Williams has twice been highly commended in the Reader’s DigestYoung Illustrators Awards.

To order The Nativity Story, call Kregel Publications at 800-733-2607, or go to


Leslie Paladino is publicity and media manager for Kregel Publications.