“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… and his name shall be … The Prince of Peace.” A child is born and the world rejoices. Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus, as the hope for the world who will usher in “Peace on Earth, goodwill to men”–a noble and worthy goal regardless of the faith one practices.
Today’s post reviews books that honor the birth of “ordinary” babies whose arrivals thrilled parents and families who rejoiced at the miracle of their baby’s birth. In the words of poet Carl Sandburg, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” Each book looks at a baby’s birth through a lens of joy and celebration.
On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier is a lyrical and dreamy narrative that tells how the very elements of the universe, the moon and stars, the sun and animals rejoice at every child’s birth. Each one exhales sighs of wonder at the birth of every new baby.
The dreamy and lofty perspective of this story will surely tug at parental hearts. Children will shiver with pleasure as they hear,”On the eve of your birth …While you waited in darkness, tiny knees curled to chin, the Earth and her creatures with the Sun and the Moon all moved in their places, each ready to greet you the very first moment of the very first day you arrived.” Who wouldn’t delight in hearing that their arrival on the planet met such expectation and celebration?
This book would be a lovely gift for expectant parents or for any child. It includes back matter that provides fascinating facts to explain the science that underpins the poetic text. Portions of the book’s sales proceeds help fund the Wabasso (Florida) Environmental Learning Center.
With equal enthusiasm, On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman focuses on honoring the uniqueness of the newborn child. Like the previous book, On the Day You Were Born also describes how the animals and the planet welcome each baby. “On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered ….”
Gorgeous illustrations bring the short text to life. Several feature musical notes as part of the vignette and seem to suggest that the story is singing the child’s story. On the Night You Were Born concludes with the lines, “Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous day you were born.”
Like the first two titles, this book celebrates a child’s birth with an added twist. It also narrates his journey to join his adoptive parents. The Story I’ll Tell by Nancy Tupper Ling and illustrated by Jessica Lanan relates several fanciful story lines to explain how the child and parents came to be together. Each is dreamy, appealing and accompanied by lush illustrations. However none is the real story which isn’t revealed until nearly the end: “Still there are times when I think I will tell the truth, for the truth is a beautiful story too.” I would add that the truth is more appealing because of the fact that it is true.
Tell Me Again about the Night I was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis and illustrated with skill and humor by Laura Cornell unfolds through the voice of an (adopted) child who asks her parents to recount the details of her birth day. It is clear that she has memorized every fact as she tells her parents what they should recite. Obviously this is a familiar story, one in which the child finds comfort. The story begins with her (future) parents who “were curled up like spoons and Daddy was snoring.” Until … the phone rings announcing that the little girl had been born.
The facts of her birth day story are specified in detail. Kids who share similar facts will enjoy finding this common ground: infertility, baby placed directly from the hospital, very young birth mother,etc. But for families whose facts don’t match, it may not be as much of a hit. This story focuses on the positives of adoption. Many cherish this book and it has been a top choice for years. Others, however, find it less satisfying because it gives no hint of any of the hard stuff of adoption.
Our theme for this month’s Favorite Holiday Books. (Please feel free to share any holiday resources, not just winter holidays.) The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.
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