Here’s a book the whole family can enjoy together as the Christmas season winds down: The Strangers at the Manger by Lisa M. Hendey.
Number 5 in the “Chime Traveler” series of chapter books for kids in grades 2 and up (younger as a read-aloud), this novel finds twins Patrick and Katie traveling through time to Bethlehem, where they accompany Mary and Joseph through their attempts to find lodging and stay with them until the Holy Family flees to Egypt to escape Herod’s attempts on Jesus’ life.
Readers will feel as if they’re really there, encountering shepherds, Magi and even Anna and Simeon in the Temple. Hendey’s account of the Incarnation weaves Gospel stories seamlessly with the fictional addition of modern-day visitors who find ways to help Mary and Joseph take care of their newborn son. The stories incorporate a level of detail that will fascinate children who want to know what life was like during Jesus’ time.
Lisa Hendey’s devotion to the Blessed Mother is particularly evident in the way Mary is portrayed in the story.
Books in the “Chime Traveler” series always focus on a lesson the children must learn before they can return to their own families; this book centers on a refugee family seeking shelter in the twins’ parish church.
This series is published by Franciscan Media.
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