December 25 – Christmas Day

Merry Christmas!

This month I have read and recommended books on almost every secular topic related to Christmas. Today I am going to focus only on the religious aspect of Christmas and share some wonderful picture books with you.

Wishing you all a peaceful and joyous Christmas!

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The First Christmas illustrated with paintings from the National Gallery, London (2010)

First published in 1992, with different cover art, this book is a collection of artwork from the National Gallery in London. Each print is accompanied by scripture from  the Book of the Prophet Isaiah and the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. It is beautifully presented in picture book form. The index at the end of the book gives information about each piece of art, including the title, artist, dates, and  a sentence or two about the work.

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The First Christmas illustrated by Sophy Williams (2010)

This beautiful book was originally published in 1994 and has become a favorite among many families because of it’s original artwork. It delights children in the sense of many pop-up books, but unlike pop-up art which can be easily torn and destroyed, this artwork slides away to reveal another picture behind it. Each picture is tender and heartwarming, a masterpiece to share with young children.

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The Nativity written and illustrated by Francesca Crespi (2005)

This stunning picture book tells the Christmas story in six pop-up scenes. The Angel appears from behind the clouds. No Room at the Inn shows Mary riding a donkey and Joseph ascending the stairs to the inn. The Stable slides opens two panels to reveal the Holy Family inside. The Shepherds is multilayered to depict the countryside outside Bethlehem and a spinning disk of angles playing musical instruments in the sky. The Wise Men stand in the forefront of the scene with a pull-out tab which moves the star across the sky in the background. And finally, The Gifts   opens two side panels to a celestial view of the infant Jesus in his mother’s arms surrounded by angels.

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The Nativity from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke and illustrated by Ruth Sanderson (2000)

Originally published in 1993, this book follows holy scripture in word and art beginning with the Angel Gabriel’s announcement, Mary acceptance of the Lord’s Word, and the journey to Bethlehem. Beautiful art depicts the birth of Christ and the appearance of the angels to the shepherds and the visit from the magi. But the story does not end here, it continues as the holy family is warned of Herod’s plan and departs from Bethlehem and their later return to Nazareth where the Christ child spends his youth.

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