Bethlehem's Baby - Five-Minute Bible Stories by Shiela Deeth

Today, I have as my guest blogger, Shiela Deeth who describes herself as an, "author(and sometimes illustrator)--Mongrel Christian--Anglo-American--mathematician who can't add up and writer who can't spell."

Her latest book, Bethlehem's Baby is out. In Bethlehem’s Baby, we meet the Emperor Augustus’s advisors, the quiet research student helping wise men study stars, the shepherd whose granddad keeps complaining, an Egyptian fisherboy, a Roman soldier, and more. Bethlehem's Baby is a set of forty 5-minute read-aloud stories based around the events of the Christ Child’s birth in Bethlehem.  

Read on as Shiela tells us a bit about how she came to write her Five-Minute Bible Stories for children.

One day my eight-year-old, he with the boxes of dinosaur toys, dinosaur games, dinosaur cards, books and more, suddenly announced, “I don’t believe in dinosaurs anymore.” Not having realized they were a matter of faith, I asked him why. “Because my teacher says they’re not in the Bible.” 

I assured my son that, since the word for dinosaur wasn’t invented until the 1800s, one would hardly expect to find it used in ancient Hebrew. But that wasn’t enough. “My teacher says...” Then I reminded him there really are sea-monsters in the Bible. Couldn’t they be dinosaurs? “But my teacher says...” And finally I let him know I really didn’t mind. 

“Just remember, Son, the rest of us have seen dinosaur bones and we’re convinced they existed.” I had to stop the discussion before it devolved into argument. Small boy’s older brothers were nobly trying not to laugh at him and his teacher, but their muffled giggles were getting much more intrusive. 

Years later my oldest son was doing pre-med in college and decided to phone home. This wasn’t the regular, “Hi Mom, yes I’m fine,” type of call. This time we spent over an hour discussing the merits of evolution, and demerits of faith. The conversation started with, “Mom, Christianity’s stupid.” 

“Umm,” said I, stalling for time. “But I’m a Christian, and I don’t think I’m stupid.” 

“Yeah,” replied my son. “But you’re weird. Christians don’t believe in evolution and the evidence is really overwhelming. How can any halfway intelligent person not believe... and do you know... and they’ve just found out...” and so on, for rather a while and then some more. 

Eventually I got a word in edgewise. “But I’m a Christian, and I don’t have a problem with evolution.” 

“Yeah, but everyone says...” 

“Who’s everyone?” 

Then middle son, entering college a few years later, told me Christianity was just a myth, and faith a fallacy. 

So many kids grow up with Bible stories learned by rote, like fairytales filled with magic, bearing no relation to reality. They learn not to ask questions, because who wants Cinderella to answer. They learn that the stories don’t need to make sense because magical mirrors can always bend the rules. And then, they meet people who challenge their faith with a wealth of fascinating, verifiable and frequently incontrovertible facts. Maybe they’ll go back to the Bible and learn to learn to really read it, rethinking the difference between word and interpretation, and applying the same sense of logic to all that they’ve learned. Or maybe, sadly all too often, they’ll decide they’ve grown up and grown out of the things parents made them believe in as kids and they don’t want any sort of faith. 

I write my five-minute Bible stories with these children in mind, so they can learn before they leave home that it’s okay to ask questions, that the Bible’s not totally unrelated to the real historical, scientific world they meet in school, and that the Bible’s message just might be bigger than they’ve imagined. I write the stories for parents too, and include author’s notes, so they can check why my version maybe sounds different from the one they thought they’d been told. Maybe they’ll check in the Bible themselves and find it’s not so illogical, anti-science or unhistorical as they’ve believed. I write for teachers, so they can talk about faith in a down-to-earth way. And I write to entertain, but I hope the entertainment I offer might engage the reader’s brain, and heart, and soul. If it does, I’ll know I’ve done something vaguely worthwhile. 

Linda, thank you so much for welcoming me to your blog. I really enjoyed trying to answer your question about why I took the path I did in writing my Bible stories as well as what I hope parents/teachers/kids can get from the stories told in this style. 

Links: Find Bethlehem’s Baby at: 
Or on Smashwords at: 

More of the Five-Minute Bible StoryTM Series on the publisher’s website: 

Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. She now lives in the States near Portland, Oregon.  Shiela enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories and meeting her neighbors' dogs on the green.

Connect with Sheila at: 

Sheila Deeth: 
Fan page: 


Sheila Deeth said…
Thank you so much for hosting me!

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