|Nikki Grimes’ latest picture book, Voices of Christmas (Zonderkidz, 2009), is one of those books that makes me go, Why hasn’t someone done this before? It’s a collection of poems that together tell the story of the birth of Christ. Each spread introduces the character with a Bible quotation and then presents a poem from that person’s point of view.
These poems are from real, human people, with real, human failings: nosiness, greed, selfishness, etc. But also bravery, love, and faith. And the illustrations by Eric Velasquez are stunning. So gorgeous and evocative.
Here’s the poem for Gaspar, introduced as "In the time of King Herod, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who was born King of the Jews? We observed his star at its rising.’ "
All those years of poring over
charts and scrolls on astronomy,
then suddenly, it was as if
the Morning Star
leapt from the page
and rose into the sky.
I have waiting for its appearing
so long, I know its shape by heart.
This star marks the Messiah’s birth.
God, at last, has come to earth
and I must find him!
"Brothers, it is time for us
to begin the journey
for which we were born.
Pack quickly and take
a gift for the King.
We leave in the morning."
–Nikki Grimes, all rights reserved
I don’t read many religious books, but I really enjoyed this one. I can’t wait to listen to the CD that came with it, too, with the book read by Nikki.