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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, Debra Westgate-Silva has released her Moonbeam Award-winning book, Bethelehem Barn, looking at what the animals present at the birth of Jesus would have said.

Bethlehem Barn

In her 2022 Moonbeam Award-winning book, Bethlehem Barn, Debra Westgate-Silva explores what the barn animals present at the birth of Jesus would have said to give young audiences a lighthearted retelling of the Christmas story, all from the animals’ point of view.  

Bethlehem Barn by Debra Westgate-Silva on The Table Read
Bethlehem Barn

“The story was inspired by a church service I attended several years ago when a minister mentioned an ancient legend that for one hour on Christmas Eve, animals are given the gift of speech,” explained Debra.

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This concept immediately inspired her to write a children’s story, and what possibilities she could explore with her book. What would the animals have said on that very first Christmas Eve? How would the cow have felt when she saw a baby was in her food trough? Would the animals know who that baby was? As the quirky animal characters came to life in Debra’s imagination, so did the message she wanted to convey. 

“My goal was to create a fun story that children would want to read over and over that focuses on the true meaning of Christmas and the spirit of giving, caring and community,” explained Debra.

With beautiful illustrations and a delightful cast of animals, Bethlehem Barn is a perfect Christmas story of children aged 4 to 8, which is fun and entertaining, whilst also teaching the foundational Christmas story.

Debra Westgate-Silva

Debra Westgate-Silva on The Table Read
Debra Westgate-Silva

Debra Westgate-Silva lives in Bristol, Rhode Island, with her husband and two sons. She worked in public education and child advocacy and welfare for many years, and her writing has been published in Highlights children’s magazine and Teaching Tolerance (now Learning for Justice).

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Now she works with Love Smiles, a pediatric cancer foundation that partners with authors to share stories with patients and families, read by the authors themselves. She is also involved with organizations that promote childhood literacy and causes related to child welfare.

Debra loves reading, writing, cooking, traveling and spending time with her family. She also enjoys being part of writing organizations, which include The Writing Barn, 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, and Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her favorite holiday is Christmas, and a cherished family tradition is baking a birthday cake for baby Jesus each year. Bethlehem Barn is her first picture book.

Findmore from Debra Westgate-Silva now:

For more information about the author, visit and connect with her on Instagram (@deb_westgate_silva) and Facebook (

Bethlehem Barn

Publisher: Stillwater River Publications

ISBN-10: 195512356X

ISBN-13: ‎978-1955123563

Available from and

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