FOR THOSE of you who don't know us—Bethlehem Books is a small, home grown publishing company dedicated to restoring to children and families a treasury of wholesome, character-building literature. We are more than just a business. Our work springs from the heart of the Bethlehem Community of Benedictine Oblates, a lay group of families and single people which began in 1971.
Years of educating our children at home acquainted us with libraries and second-hand stores, showing us a wealth of good children's literature published during the last fifty years. To our pleased surprise our appreciation developed into an actual “rescue mission” of reprinting a few of these good books, which rest on the solid moral values of a Christian Culture.
In 1994 we launched our books apostolate with The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, the first of more than 100 print books we have published over the years. Many of them, including Rolf, are still in print. We specialize in reprinting tried and true historical fiction, adventure tales, biographies, and family stories that help children and young adults expand their imagination and understand the past.
Now, more than twenty years later, amidst all the ups and downs of family and community life, we are pleased to be still providing good literature for children—of all ages! Nowadays we meet young adults who enthusiastically respond to a display of Bethlehem Books by exclaiming, “I grew up on these books!” Some of the young people are in the process of building a Bethlehem Books library for their own budding families. Many things continue to change in the world around us, but the love of a good story—to read alone or aloud to others— thankfully endures.
Our goal has always been to provide as much good family reading as we could afford and so we have entered the world of digital books, converting many of our print books into electronic format—eBook versions for sale side-by-side with their physical counterparts. At the same time we have introduced over 60 brand new titles in eBook-only format for our readers’ enjoyment. Several titles that began as eBook-only have become print titles as well: Good Old Archibald, The Ranch of the Golden Flowers, and On the Edge of the Fjord, to name a few.
Audio download technology has recently opened another door for us. We are currently in the process of making some of our best-loved titles into audio books available through audible.com and iTunes. The Story of Rolf again pushes to the fore in our audio enterprise. The whole family can now enjoy an unabridged recording of Rolf read by award-winning narrator John Lee. John Lee and other talented readers, including Mary Sarah Agliotta and Albert Hensley, lend their artistry to bring our stories to audio life: The Hidden Treasure of Glaston, The Fairchild Family Series, Year of the Black Pony, The Winged Watchman, and many more!
Also unfolding over this coming year is our 18-title series of biographies: Portraits in Faith and Freedom. Available first as eBook-only, they are destined for print editions as well. The 18 real-life people these books describe, including Charles Carroll, Kateri Tekakwitha, Pierre Toussaint, and Miguel Agustin Pro, can, each in his or her own way, help us reflect in our own time on the role that men and women of faith play in shaping the world around them. Slightly edited for the modern reader, we are making the Portraits as helpful as possible for parents, teachers, and young people by adding brand new material to each title including maps, Historical Insight essays by Daria Sockey, and a timeline per set that is available as a printable PDF on our website.
From all of us at Bethlehem Books we wish our friends and readers many happy hours of reading (and listening to!) literature to feed the imagination.