cover image Nativity


Cynthia Rylant. Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7041-4

In a companion to 2016’s Creation, which drew on the book of Genesis, Rylant crafts a spare, graceful rendition of the Nativity, with text adapted from the King James Bible. Following pages that herald Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem, Rylant moves beyond the familiar Christmas story to incorporate several of Jesus’s teachings from the Sermon on the Mount, known as the beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor, for there is the kingdom of heaven,” she writes as a shrouded figure sits beside a battered brick building on a gray night. Humans and animals appear tiny and humble against the vastness of broadly brushed earth and sky in Rylant’s naif acylics. The decision to pair the Nativity story with the beatitudes is a wise and profound one, quietly helping Christian readers connect Jesus’s birth with the messages of kindness, humility, and compassion he would later preach. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)