BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania — Two childhood friends wanted to share the love of their hometown with others.
The result is a brightly colored primer featuring the south side of Bethlehem.
The first page begins with the humble beginnings of Christmas Town: “A is for Atlantic, the ocean so blue that brought friends and relatives to a brand new land.”
But “Memories of South Bethlehem” is a children’s book with layers of history.
“The Moravians found the city, but Bethlehem Steel put it on the map,” said author Kathie Klein.
Klein grew up in south Bethlehem. She says that after working with Historic Bethlehem and seeing a coloring book published, Klein thought it would be a good idea to create one.
She says she was thrilled to share the book with her grandchildren, so they would know what things were like when she was a child.
To do this, Klein enlisted the help of her childhood friend, the artist Connie Gilbert.
Gilbert is also from Bethlehem. But she grew up on the west side.
The two women say finding a topic for each letter of the alphabet has brought them a lot of laughs and a bond.
“It’s always a tag match on whatever we choose,” Klein said.
Once their subjects were defined, Gilbert created beautiful illustrations.
“I used acrylic, the cover was a painting I had done,” Gilbert said.
The friends dedicated the book to their grandchildren, who were the first to read its colorful pages.
Kathie and Connie say they hope everyone who reads the book discovers the charm of Bethlehem and its rich history.
Memories of South Bethlehem is available now at the Moravian Archives and soon in select stores and on Amazon.