Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"The First Christmas Night" by Keith Christopher & Illustrated by Christine Kornacki (Review & Giveaway - USA & CANADA)

About the book:  The First Christmas Night is a beautiful retelling of the birth of Jesus on that joyous night in Bethlehem so long ago. The poem begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and winds though Christ’s birth, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, and the visit by the Wise Men. The simple, yet elegant, verses will appeal to little ones and are accompanied by the rich acrylic illustrations of Christine Kornacki.
’Twas the very first Christmas when all through the town
not a creature was stirring—there was not a sound.
The moon shining bright in the heavens so high
gave the look of midday to the Bethlehem sky.
The animals were nestled in warm, cozy places
with looks of contentment on each of their faces.
My thoughts:  First of all, a children's book requires good illustrations for it to appeal to the buyer as well as to the child. In The First Christmas Night the illustrations are artistic, realistic, soft, appealing, and lend "life" in true form to the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus Christ. While the text of the story is not scriptural, it does account well for a child the story of that first Christmas when our Savior was born in a lowly manager.

Using the "format" of The Night Before Christmas" as a pattern, the author nestles the animals in warm, cozy places. He brings smiles to the poetry that re-tells the Biblical account.  While I thoroughly appreciate any way we can get Biblical accounts "nestled" into the minds of children, and while I really do not care at all for "cartoon" characterizations of God's Word, I believe that even the young child can understand the beauty of the actual account from the Gospel of Luke. That being said, I like this book and will certainly endorse it for families, children, libraries everywhere.

GIVEAWAY: Win this treasure for that special child in your life. Open for USA & CANADIAN addresses. Begins November 5 & ENDS November 25 @ 12:01 a.m. ET.  Win the book just in time for Christmas!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway 

About the author - Keith Christopher is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and educator, and he has served as editor and producer for several major music publishers. In addition to writing and studio producing, Keith is on the faculty at the Blair School of Music of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his wife and two children.

About the Illustrator - At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life. After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children's books began to take shape, including illustrating the best-selling The Sparkle Box for Ideal's Children's Books. Christine's recent work also includes illustrating the six-book series for the American Girl historical doll characters Marie-Grace and Cecile. She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut.

Who is it for?

  • Kids ages 4-8 - The rhyming language can help them develop verbal language skills and learn to read
  • Family story time during the holidays
  • Children's Ministers and Sunday school teachers
  • Christmas carolers could set it to a tune!


  1. (Signed in as Lagean)
    I can remember our church doing Christmas programs when my sisters and I were part of the choir. They were always so emotional and heartfelt.


  2. We did Charles Dickens Christmas Carol at my elementary school and it was a disaster but very fun.

  3. One Christmas we did a comedy Christmas play that year at church called Louie in St. Louis. It started as a comedy, but by the end it was very touching and emotional. A homeless man stumbling inside a church. It's one Christmas play I'll never forget.
    Barbara Thompson

  4. We always act this out on Christmas Eve with the grandchildren doing the various parts. My little granddaughter, being the only girl, was Mary, of course. Her mom in an effort to make her look like an expectant mother, gave her some padding under the robe which was her costume. As she came out, she obviously was having some costume issues as the padding slipped out. At the time it was quite funny, but it made for a wonderful Christmas memory. Sonja.nishimoto (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. I actually just found my first Christmas story book from when I was a child. I can remember my family all sitting together and reading it together.

  6. I cherish the memory to my daughter playing the role of Mary, in our Christmas play, at church. She was only 3.

  7. I really enjoy going to my granddaughters Christmas skits at church last year they had one where they talked rap and sung songs that all related to country people ending up in the big city during the holidays and how they all shared their love of Jesus with others, it was a lot of fun and inspirational. Me and the hubby PAPA enjoyed it and will go again.

  8. My church always has a Christmas Cantata and an Easter cantata to, but it's the Christmas ones that I remember most fondly. One in particular was when I was an angel. I was pretty little at the time, and I was in charge of helping another even younger angel to her place at the right time. Over the years I played a lot of other characters (including Mary and I got to hold my first baby on stage) but that year I was an angel is always at the for front of my favorite years. :)


    Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a) Chavez


  9. My dad was part of a live nativity program a few years ago

  10. I remember one of our sons was Joseph and Mary really didnt want to stand too close to him. Another son was an angel and got to sing a solo.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com Merry

  11. At church the children put on a Christmas play

  12. A lovely book, we will check it out as our little G is just starting to understand about Christmas and the true meaning. Thanks for linking it in to the Kid Lit Blog Hop

  13. I am entering your giveaway.
    It would be great to win a copy of
    "The First Christmas Night" by Keith Christopher & Illustrated by Christine Kornacki
    In response to your requirement to
    Share a story in the blog comments about a Christmas program at church or school that you remember fondly.
    I remember our school doing a production of
    Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol.
    They did it every christmas for at least five years.
    Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!!!!

  14. Religious stories were a part of school everyday when I lived in Greece. Now that I live in Toronto I read to my girls. The most special story is the nativity story and st. Nicholas story.

  15. My grade school had annual Christmas music programs that were awesome! All the favorite Holiday songs were included!

  16. My elementary school had the most wonderful Christmas program I've ever seen or heard of. Each grade played a different role in reenacting the Christmas story. It featured all the best hymns and was so reverent.

  17. i remember being involved in many christmas themed programs at school dressing up as presents or trees and such

  18. I remember the kids dressed in their costumes singing and acting out the nativity.

  19. The kids would all dress up and put on a Christmas Story short play for the congregation.

  20. i recall fondly of putting on this play year after year
    good luck to all
    aka midgeknows

  21. Awww. this book looks so beautiful! Thanks for sharing in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. :-)

  22. I remember one year when I was young they handed out apples and bags of candy after the Christmas program at church. I was thrilled!

  23. My kids went to Catholic school and loved the Christmas play. The community it brought together was awesome.

  24. We always did a church play. My little cousin was always the little drummer boy.


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