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A moving Christmas story introducing children to a tradition originally from Spain and later from the Americas. Tomie DePaola captures the imagination again and adds a touch of expectation and mystery.
We have a still-growing collection of Christmas books begun when my children were infants, and each night from Thanksgiving through Christmas I would read a book or two. Now, often as not, they read to me, and over the past nine years The Night of Las Posadas is one the our "most favorites." Beautiful, vibrant illustrations work with a compelling, spiritual plot to carry a reader through to satisfying, magical, and unexpected ending. As an adult, I like how the author accesses the original story of Mary and Joseph with a modern plot, all while exploring a cross-cultural Christmas tradition with which I was not familiar.
I highly recommend this book--and I highly recommend reading with your children as they grow.
This book is one of our family's favorite children's Christmas books. If you're not already familiar with the author, Tomie dePaola, then you need to check him out. This book, like others of his we've read, is based to some degree in cultural ritual. The Night of Las Posadas takes place in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It tells the story of the local villagers who put on a reenactment of Las Posadas each year in the old Santa Fe Plaza. For those who don't know, Las Posadas is the story of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem and not finding any room at an inn to stay at and eventually having Jesus in a stable. It's a great book that highlights New Mexican culture.
This year the small Episcopal church where I am priest in charge did its own version of Posadas. One of my parisioners made a Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. Mary and Joseph were 18" to 24" tall. The baby was concealed in Mary's abdomen. The Holy Family was circulated throughout the congregation during Advent. With them was also "The Night or Las Posadas." The Holy Family formed a center for devotion and mediation during the time they were in each home. The beautifully written chidren's book explained what they were doing in the form of a story. It was well received. I highly recommend the book whether or not you are doing Posadas in your congregation. The Holy Family returned to the church at the Christmas Eve Mass and stayed with us until Epiphany.