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LocalLit book review: 'My Donkey and the Master'

J.L. Callison has served in various lay ministry capacities, including prison and rescue missions. However, his primary focus has been youth ministry.
J.L. Callison has served in various lay ministry capacities, including prison and rescue missions. However, his primary focus has been youth ministry.

Loyal readers: the LocalLit newsletter has a surprise for you.

Starting next week and for the next seven weeks, we're sending you a bonus newsletter of seven very different, very unusual short stories, all on a single theme.

Each week will feature one story. All the stories have different premises, different genres.

The series title: "The Covid Chronicles: Fictional Accounts of 2021."

Several months ago, Shaw Media invited members of WriteOn Joliet, an adult critique group, to submit their fictional take of the "new normal" for next year.

We hope you enjoy them.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled book review.

This past weekend, I was finally able to read " My Donkey and the Master" by J.L.Callison of Aurora.

It's not a long book (48 pages) and very readable, the perfect book for someone who wants to learn some of the setting and customs of the time period surrounding Jesus' book and doesn't want to wade through academic or archaic language.

Here is part of the book's Amazon description: "When his father is killed in a construction accident, a young man is taken on as an apprentice by the, as of yet, unmarried Joseph of Nazareth. This begins a life-long association and friendship between the two men and old Jed, the young man’s donkey."

Callison wraps up his description with this: "Enjoy this fictional account of a true story from a perspective that is entertaining, yet accurate and true to history and the gospel, in all aspects."

Part of the reason why Callison wrote this book is to give Christians a better understanding of the nativity story.

Although popular culture wraps it in a blanket of sentimentality (not necessarily wrong), it sometimes misses the complexity surrounding marriage at that time and what an out-of-wedlock child could mean for Mary.

It give weight to Joseph's decision to obey God's will, and that is probably the best takeaway from this book.

It shows the "ordinary" in the "extraordinary" and miraculous events that unfolded over the course of Jesus' life in very ordinary language, so the reader, also living a very daily life, can begin to comprehend how momentous this was to the average person, albeit an average person in another time.

And it shows that even a humble donkey, and its colt, can play their own roles in the unfolding of God's plan, that no role is too small and no creature too humble to not have worth in God's eyes.

Buy 'My Donkey and the Master' on Amazon.

For more information about Callison, visit

Know more about LocalLit

Each week LocalLit will deliver an original short and family-friendly story (or a book review) by a local author to the newsletter's subscribers.

Authors with a connection to our readership area may submit.  Submission does not guarantee acceptance.

Contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at 815-280-4122

To sign up for the free LocalLit newsletter,

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