SANDOWN/HAMPSTEAD — Debbie Ryan of Sandown and Alice Duston longtime resident of Hampstead, granddaughter and daughter of Joan Carter, with the help of illustrator Susan Monty of Derry, tell the story of a cold Christmas Eve where the animals of the forest came from near and far to gather around Saint Nicolas. He would read them the amazing story of how Joseph and his wife Mary arrived in Bethlehem just in time for the baby Jesus to be born. Saint Nicolas reminds them of the amazing events that happened that wondrous night.

Joan Carter wrote “A Christmas Fable” late in life and read it to her grandchildren until she was ninety-two years old. The family continues to read the story every Christmas eve. Joan Carter lived most of her life in Storrs, CT. After graduating from high school she attended library training school and became a children’s librarian. Inspired to write by her favorite childhood teacher who would assign a poem for the students to memorize, left such an impression she could quote some of those poems her whole life. Joan wrote several poems and short stories for her daughter and grandchildren to enjoy.

A Christmas Fable is illustrated by Derry NH artist, Susan Monty. She is a New England native who grew up in Windham and now resides in Derry, where she works in her home studio. Susan’s artwork is inspired by animals and nature. Her watercolor illustrations are a perfect fit, as birds and animals fill Susan’s nature journals. With Susan’s skilled brush, the charming forest animals come alive in A Christmas Fable. More of her work can be seen at

Debbie says the memory of her grandmother sharing A Christmas Fable with her sons in her Sandown NH home is a gift. The story is now being told to the fourth generation of her family. Debbie and her mother, Alice Duston created the book in honor of Joan Carter hoping that other families would enjoy the tradition of sharing A Christmas Fable and creating their own memories.

A Christmas Fable is the perfect gift this holiday season and can be found on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. Include Joan Carter or Susan Monty in your search.


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