Award-winning Children’s Author Celebrates Launch of New Christmas Book

Cathy Travis – author of the widely acclaimed “Constitution Translated for Kids,” and winner of multiple literary awards – just released “Road to Bethlehem,” a child’s book about the long and dangerous trip Mary and Joseph took before Christ’s birth.

“Heard the best Christmas story last year,” said Cathy Travis, author of “Road to Bethlehem,” a new children’s holiday book. “Party goers were trading stories about Elf on the Shelf – and one asked the kid hovering nearby if they had an Elf on the Shelf. ‘No,’ the kid says, ‘We have Mary and Joseph on the Road to Bethlehem.'”

A little embarrassed silence followed – and the mother explained that their family tradition was to take the Mary and Joseph Nativity figurines and put them in some corner of the house, moving them closer to the manger scene daily, arriving on Christmas Eve.

“That’s just a really great story, in and of itself,” Travis said. “Checked to see how far their journey really was, and it was 90-ish miles, depending on which path they would have needed to follow. Ninety miles. Through dangerous terrain, and Mary being very pregnant.”

“So that story inspired this book,” said Travis. “There is quite a bit of opportunity to fill in what is unknown – what’s not in the Bible – in that long and dangerous journey. The book begins in the present day, with that Elf on the Shelf story, then picks up in Nazareth, and details Mary and Joseph’s trip.”

The Gospel of Luke details the Nativity story: Joseph and Mary left Nazareth for Bethlehem to register for a Roman Census, when Mary was nearly ready to deliver a baby. Bethlehem was crowded when they arrived, and Mary delivered Baby Jesus in a stable.

An Angel alerted Wise Men from the East to go there in advance, and also told nearby shepherds to go to Bethlehem to witness Jesus’ birth.

But that’s all of the Biblical record of their journey from Nazareth – through the forests and mountains, 90 miles south to Bethlehem – and the tumultuous events surrounding Jesus’ birth. It would have been a rough and dangerous journey for a strong and healthy couple, but Mary was nearly nine months pregnant.

“Everything else about this story is fictitious, but realistic,” Travis said. “Did just enough research to figure the lay of the land back then, who and what would have been around them … and went from there.”

Travis added several characters in this fictional account, understanding that few people would have traveled alone, then incorporated the Wise Men into Joseph and Mary’s escape to Egypt.

“By no means is this going to be accurate … in language, in characters added for drama, in logistics, etc.,” Travis said. “It is just a story meant to dramatize the difficult – human – journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and the events surrounding Jesus’ birth.”

Travis hopes this book will inspire families with young children to consider a tradition of putting Mary and Joseph in a far corner of the house at Christmas time, and moving them closer to the manger scene each day, arriving there on Christmas Eve.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cathy Travis worked on Capitol Hill for 25 years as a top staffer for various Members of Congress until 2008. A native of Jonesboro, Arkansas, Travis graduated from Arkansas State University and resides in Washington, D.C. Her first kid’s book was the award-winning Constitution Translated for Kids.

Release ID: 97203