When my oldest son was much younger, a friend of mine introduced me to the three-book advent series by Arnold Ytreeide. I borrowed one of hers and purchased another, and I was glad I did. Soon after that the books were out of print, and for a while the only ones available to purchase were very costly. Happily, though, another publisher picked them up, and I can recommend them again!
The series begins with Jotham’s Journey, the story of 10-year-old Jotham who, while searching for his family, encounters many dangers, including robbers and kidnappers. Along the way, Jotham also meets shepherds, wisemen, and innkeepers, until he finally finds his way to the Savior born in a stable.
In Bartholomew’s Passage, young Bartholomew faces the destruction of his village, the loss of his family, and his own enslavement. Readers can follow along as he escapes, reunites with his family, and finds the Christ child in Bethlehem. And along the way he’s made a new friend — Jotham!
Tabitha’s Travels is the third book, featuring a young shepherd girl named Tabitha. As her family is traveling, her father is taken prisoner by the Romans. During the course of the story, Tabitha spends time with Elizabeth and Zachariah and helps Mary and Joseph just before Jesus is born. She, too, finds some new friends — Jotham and Bartholomew!
While it sounds like you might be doing a lot of reading this Christmas season, don’t worry — the books are designed in such a way that you would read just one book a year. The first year, then, you can read about Jotham, the next year Bartholomew, and then finally Tabitha. Or, you might choose to begin with Bartholomew or Tabitha instead.
Each book is divided into short chapters, one for each day of advent. And each chapter is suspenseful and exciting, ending with a cliff-hanger to be resolved the following day.
If you’re looking for a good book to read with your children this holiday season, try one by Arnold Ytreeide. It’ll be a Christmas adventure your children will enjoy. And who knows? It might even become a new holiday tradition!