Black author Dorena Williamson’s new children’s book is a great holiday gift idea because it centers on Jesus and the family that surrounded him during his life.
“Brown Baby Jesus” is a story of faith that spans generations and places, while examining Jesus’ upbringing and using essential biblical stories.
Williamson’s story of Jesus does not begin in a Bethlehem manger. Instead, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus fled to Egypt, hoping to escape the wrath of King Herod. Wrath had ordered the deaths of Jewish male children.
The family, depicted with brown skin in portrait-based art by illustrator Ronique Ellis, avoid soldiers and march along the Nile. As Mary weaves the wool into thread, she and Joseph detail biblical stories that intertwine like “colored threads that make beautiful cloth,” according to one The Editor’s Weekly exam.
Biblical stories include Moses and the Israelites, Rahab and Jerusalem, and others. Throughout all the tales, the repeated themes of “God continued to show himself for his people” and “Jesus made his home with mankind when he entered the world wrapped in the brown skin of a new- born”.
“Like Moses, the brown child Jesus would be a liberator. Like Rahab, the brown child Jesus would save his people from destruction. Like David, the brown child Jesus would rule as a great king,” Williamson writes of his new book.
“Like the colorful threads that make up a beautiful fabric, Brown Baby Jesus brings together the characters and stories leading to Jesus, showing how God has included many races and nations in the story we celebrate each year.”
Although the intersections of the stories may not be clear to those unfamiliar with the biblical passages the book includes, “they successfully portray a diverse family tree for the very famous child, whose “woolly hair and skin bronze are a beautiful part of how God made you.’”
“My passion for race and justice grew out of the multiracial church I co-located 25 years ago. I am grateful for every opportunity to stand on big stages or work in my community, building the diverse kingdom of God,” Williamson says on his website.
“While raising my four children, I read aloud tons of picture books at home and in their schools. And even though my house has outgrown these books, I’m still quite passionate about the messages our children receive about themselves and the world around them.
A fan of DC Comics superheroes Superman and Wonder Woman. Williamson said, “Whether it’s in the Bible, in books, or on the big screen, I love a good story.”
“Brown Baby Jesus” is suitable for children from 3 to 7 years old. It is available through Christianbook.com. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target and Wal-Mart.