Despite the fact that most of the kids in my life are getting bears for Christmas this year (because that’s what happens when I work in a shop where I stuff a lot of bears), that hasn’t stopped me from perusing and purchasing books from my favourite shop in the world.
I was on the lookout for some new Christmas books, and for many years have been frustrated about the lack of books that tell the Christmas story in a real way. Every nativity book is white-washed with blue nun Mary, pristine mansion stables, white blonde baby Jesus, white Magii wearing crowns that look like the metal versions of the ones you get in Christmas crackers…
…it drives me nuts. If I’m going to share with children the story of Jesus’ birth, I want them to get an impression of the real thing.
Then on a table next to the original Christmas book from the Mog the cat series was a book called Refuge that was published this year by one of my favourite publishers – Nosy Crow (I had the pleasure of meeting someone who works for Nosy Crow last year at University of Glasgow’s Picturebook conference).
The story tells the story of Jesus birth and the family’s escape to Egypt all from the point of view of the donkey. It is a moving and poignant telling, and I have bought a copy (pictured above) and was most upset today when I went to buy another that I couldn’t find one in either of the city centre Waterstone’s booksellers in Edinburgh.
Given everything going on in the Middle East right now, the place where most of the bible’s stories happened…I couldn’t think of a more apt book to be taking down from your bookshelf to read this December.