Asleep on the Hay: A Dust Bowl Christmas by Ben Sowards It’s Christmas Eve when a knock comes at the door of Paul’s family farmhouse. A small family is stranded due to a broken-down truck and seeks shelter for the evening. Paul’s grandfather not only welcomes them in, but offers them dinner and a bed for the night. Even though it is a season of giving, Paul’s heart is not filled with charity. It’s the height of the Dust Bowl and food is scarce. Why should he share what little he has with strangers? Worse, in order to help the sick baby, Paul will have to sell his beloved calf to buy a part to fix the truck. Angry, he retreats to the barn, where he sleeps and dreams of faraway Bethlehem. In his dream, he visits Mary and Joseph, and their newborn son, Jesus. The family offers Paul food and shelter and warmth—extending to him the love and charity he lacks and teaching him of the true meaning of Christmas.
Author & Illustrator Ben Sowards Ben Sowards is the illustrator of many well-loved picture books, including A Christmas Dress for Ellen, Seven Miracles that Saved America, and Christmas Oranges. Ben Sowards teaches others to paint both traditionally and digitally at Southern Utah University, where has directed the illustration program since 2001.
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I was drawn to this book by the beautifully illustrated cover, and once you start turning the pages you are treated to eye-catching pictures, that go with the story so beautifully.
This story is set during a very hard time in America, the depression and the dust bowl. People are dying from breathing in the soil, and when our young friend Paul will be asked to make a very difficult sacrifice.
My boys enjoyed this story and debated whether they could do what young Paul is asked to do. We spoke of the sacrifice our God made by having is Son come and save us, and then Paul’s sacrifice didn’t seem as bad.
A hard decision for young ones, and this is a beautiful book to have in your home, especially during the Christmas season.
I received this book from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.