Diane Stortz – The First Christmas

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Sometimes it’s good to slow down, especially at the holidays. This book can help families with preschoolers and early-graders do just that.

The picture book format, colorful illustrations, and simple language suit the preschool ages. The context of the main story of Jesus’ birth–including the wait for Messiah, the stories of Zachariah and Elizabeth, Joseph’s dilemma, the reputation of the shepherds, and the coming of the wise men–give early and middle graders more to think about. And each part of the story offers several relevant questions families can discuss together–the author’s career as a librarian shows through here!

As a bonus, the book gives links to instructions and line drawings as well as preprinted fabric for making a Christmas Bible-story quilt based on the illustrations in the book. Families and teachers can use the downloadable drawings as coloring pages too.

I appreciated that the illustrations feature nonwhite ethnicity as well as capture a bit more emotion than some children’s books. I would have liked the angel illustrations not to show wings and to appear less feminine.

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Diane Stortz – The First Christmas

best-selling author and freelance editor; former editorial director and acquisitions head at Standard PublishingIzzy's Office