Monday, 9 December 2019

Booky Advent Calendar Day 9: "Leah's Star" by Margaret Bateson-Hill and Karin Littlewood (Alanna Max)

Our Booky Advent Calendar Day 9 book is a rather brilliant version of the classic nativity story, brought to life through the eyes of a young girl at the time of Christ's birth. 

In "Leah's Star" by Margaret Bateson-Hill and Karin Littlewood, young Leah has never seen Bethlehem so busy. 

As the innkeeper's daughter she is rushed off her feet as so many guests have come to stay. 

Then in the starlight miracles begin! 

This beautiful, fresh new telling of the Nativity story, through the eyes of a young girl, brings a wonderful humanity to this familiar tale. 

With a story as ancient and familiar as the Nativity, its easy to forget the human drama at its centre a young woman about to give birth for the first time, far away from home, her mother and the women who would usually help her; the older Joseph, concerned for his young wife. 

By telling the story through the eyes of young Leah, Margaret Bateson-Hill allows the reader to see the humanity of the ancient story. 

The Nativitys innkeeper is often portrayed as a callous business man, turning the vulnerable couple away. 

But at the time of the census in Jerusalem, his rooms would have been packed with travellers not an ideal place for a young woman about to go into labour. 

In Leahs Star, we see his humanity in offering Mary and Joseph a warm, private space in his stable. 

Here is a young woman, about to go into labour who is helped by Leah and the local midwife. 

These details bring the old familiar story to new life in a timely and relevant way, echoing what many parents may be going through as they move to a new country away from their homelands. 

"Leah's Star" by Margaret Bateson-Hill and Karin Littlewood is out now, published by Alanna Max (kindly supplied for review).