Black author Dorena Williamson’s new children’s book is an outstanding 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 locales, while examining Jesus’s upbringing and using pivotal Biblical tales.
Williamson’s story of Jesus does not begin in a Bethlehem manger. Instead, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus have fled to Egypt, in hope of escaping King Herod’s wrath. Wrath had ordered the death of male Jewish children.
The family, portrayed with brown skin in illustrator Ronique Ellis’ portrait-focused art, avoids soldiers and walks along the Nile. As Mary spins wool into yarn, she and Joseph detail Bible stories that interweave like “colorful threads that make a beautiful cloth,” according to a Publisher’s Weekly review.
Biblical stories include Moses and the Israelites, Rahab and Jerusalem, and others. Across all the tales are the repeated themes of “God kept showing up for His people,” and “Jesus made His home with humankind when he entered the world wrapped in the brown skin of a newborn baby.”
“Like Moses, brown baby Jesus would be a deliverer. Like Rahab, brown baby Jesus would save His people from destruction. Like David, brown baby Jesus would rule as a great king,” Williamson writes of her new book.
“Like the colorful threads that make up a beautiful cloth, Brown Baby Jesus brings together the characters and stories leading to Jesus—showing how God included many races and nations in the story we celebrate each year.”
Though the stories’ intersections may not be clear to those not already knowledgeable on the Biblical passages the book includes, “they successfully portray a diverse family tree for the much-celebrated child, whose ‘wooly hair and bronze skin are a beautiful part of how God made You.’”
“My passion for race and justice has grown out of the multiracial church I co-planted 25 years ago. I am grateful for every opportunity to stand on large stages or labor in my community, building God’s Diverse Kingdom,” Williamson says on her website.
“While raising my four children, I read aloud tons of illustrated books at home and in their schools. And even though my house has outgrown those books, I’m still pretty passionate about the messages our kids get 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, books, or on the big screen, I love a good story.”
“Brown Baby Jesus” is appropriate for children ages 3–7. It is available through Christianbook.com. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, and Wal-Mart.