A new Christmas book for children focuses on ethnicity and faith as national conversations about race continue. That Baby in the Manger (Paraclete Press), by Anne Neuberger and illustrated by Chloe E. Pitkoff, helps children of a variety of ethnicities in the 21st century identify with the baby Jesus who came to earth into a very different culture, centuries ago.
The story centers around a manger at an inner-city church — empty, as the Christ Child will be placed in it on Christmas morning. The empty manger causes a discussion amongst this multi-cultural group: it becomes clear that they are bothered by the statue of the baby Jesus that they remember, that doesn’t look like any of them. An inspired solution comes just in time for Christmas and shows how Jesus and his love came down for all of us.
As congregations and parishes become more and more diverse, this simple children’s book will be a welcome resource!
“That Baby in the Manger is a wonderful starting point for family discussions on race, ethnicity and faith.”
—Paul Canavese and Ann Naffziger, codirectors of GrowingUpCatholic.com
An extensive online discussion guide offers many additional discussion and activity possibilities for churches and families.