Christmas Around the World – The continent of Africa
A Child Is Born by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrations by Floyd Cooper (board book edition, 2003)
For ages 2-4
With Margaret Wise Brown’s (author of Goodnight Moon) poetic text and Floyd Cooper’s stunning paintings of the Nativity story, this is a perfect introduction to the Christmas story young children. This original story and illustrations are now available in board book format so your toddler or preschooler can look through the book on their own.
In A Child is Born, the Nativity story is set in Africa and the whole cast of characters from Jesus to the wisemen are African (or African Americans) and other ethnic origins. The paintings by Cooper of the infant, Jesus, are so realistic as he lies in the manger, you will want to reach out and pick up.
Floyd Cooper received a Coretta Scott King Award for his illustrations in The Blacker the Berry and a Coretta Scott King Honor for Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea and I Have Heard of a Land. He is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He nows lives in Easton, Pennsylvania with his wife and children.
Here is an excerpt from the text by Margaret Wise Brown:
“Come, wise men,
O Come to the barn
The sweetest of babies
Is here safe and warm
O Come, wild birds
Descend, gentle dove
And Angels from Heaven
To give him your love”
The depiction of African angels announcing the birth of Jesus are simply stunning! With all the myriads of illustrated Nativity stories showing caucasian looking angels, this book is a breath of fresh air and a reminder that God is a God of diversity. I am reminded of the verse in Revelation 7:9:
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”
This Christmas, let us join with all the nations of the world to worship Him – a foretaste, during this advent season, of what is to come: “O come, let us adore Him, Christi the Lord.”
I encourage you to order a copy so your children can read it and reread it, but until then, here is a youtube reading of A Child is Born by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Floyd Cooper: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m-JHeXOfk5Y