Name of Book: On the Night You Were Born
Author: Nancy Tillman
Illustrator: Nancy Tillman
Publisher: Feiwell and Friends
Audience: Ages 1 – Grade 2
Summary: This books uplifting message to children is that when they are born, they are unique and wonderfully celebrated. The world has never known anyone like them, and never will because everyone is distinctively themselves. As the news of the birth travels the world creatures everywhere join the celebration. The moon appears on every page as a comforting reassurance of the text. This book allows parents to tell their children how special they are.
Literary elements at work in the story: In this third person point of view picture storybook there is an interactive element with the moon asking the reader to participate with tasks. Words are intertwined within the illustrations. The rhyming text appears on white pages opposite the illustrated page. The illustrations are done through collages. Symbolism throughout the illustrations reflects the text of the story.
(How) does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? This is a story that could be used by anyone to convey the message of: You are loved. By using basic illustrations done in mixed-media compositions this story crosses economic and cultural boundaries to explain the main topic. The use of both rhyming text and rich colorful images can capture the imagination of younger children who can relate to the illustrations of animals celebrating the birth of a child.
Scripture: Psalm 139:13-14 ; Jesus’ Birth Story
Theology: The author quotes Psalm 139 as the core message for this book. You are fearfully and wonderfully made is repeated throughout the pages in various ways. When reading the first page of the story the birth of Jesus is also a significant image that comes to mind. “On the night you were born… Life will never be the same. Because there had never been anyone like you… ever in the world. “This is true of Jesus and could be used to illustrate this point to children. The name was “told throughout the world until everyone heard it and everyone knew of the one and only ever you.” This is what Christians today are still doing to let everyone in the world know the name of Christ.
The book concludes with the “For never before in a story… has the world ever known a you and it never will…” This could also be seen as describing Jesus.
Faith Talk Questions:
- When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, what were some of the signs for people to recognize? Do you see any signs like that in this story?
- Why do the animals celebrate?
- What was the celebration like when Jesus was born?
- Is there anything for which you would travel that far? What is it?
- The main part of the story is to let you know that you are special and loved. The moon whispers this over and over. To whom would you tell this in your life?
This review was prepared by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Cyndi Beerbower.
On the Night You Were Born by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.