This book was more – way more, than I had originally thought…. I handled each page with loving care as the words lifted from the pages and into my heart. ~ Sheila
A couple weekends ago I had mentioned that my friends and I went to Ely, Minnesota and experienced the Blueberry Festival. While exploring the great food and booths, I met Christine Moroni from Singing River Publications. She had a booth at the festival displaying many of the books they published and while browsing, she and I struck up a conversation about books and blogging.
Christine handed me this book, Back To The Manger before we parted ways and I thanked her and told her I would read and review it. That brings us to this moment.
Throughout Inga’s childhood, visiting an historic Neapolitan nativity scene each Christmas was a time-honored family tradition. One year when Inga takes her own children to see it, she discovers that the creche is missing. Inga takes up the quest to find this Christmas treasure and restore a bit of holiday magic to the heart of the Christmas season.
As I read this lovely book it actually brought tears to my eyes. Beautifully illustrated, I felt it read like it was a true story. I actually got goosebumps when I turned to the last page, the Note to Reader page, and discovered it was indeed a true story…
The Neapolitan creche described in this story was created in Naples, Italy during the 1700’s. The nativity set was developed by a number of master craftsmen, each of whom specialized in a particular artistic piece of the display.
In 1920, Kate Raferty, founder of The Little Traveler, purchased one of these nativity scenes. It was shipped overseas and for many decades, the creche was dispalyed on a bed of fine gold satin and fresh green moss at The Little Traveler.
Eventually the nativity set fell in a state of despair and was stored in the basement of a shop on River Lane, next to Fox River. For many years it was considered to be lost, until the late 1960’s when Mr. Merritt King, a historian, found the bed and figures. The building that was storing them was up for demolition and Mr. King was sent to the basement to be sure the electricity was off. “It was a miracle that they were still intact and not chewed by mice and rats,” he said.
Mr. King brought them home, dried them and then contacted The Little Traveler. In 1971 the set was returned to The Little Traveler and remained there until 1989 where they were donated to The Geneva History Center with the goal of complete restoration. The partially restored creche is now displayed from Thanksgiving to New Years Day in their museum at 113 South Third Street, Geneva, Illinois. The restoration is ongoing.
This is a wonderful childrens book that unlike many of the stories that are read to our children, this one carries the gift of historical facts. I would love to see this Nativity Scene at the museum and what a great gift to read to your children and then be able to show them the story… come to life.
The Geneva History Center: 639-232-4961 or http://www.genevahistorycenter.org
This book was given to me by the publisher
A “G” rating