The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a book written by Barbara Robinson in 1971. It tells the story of Imogene, Claude, Ralph, Leroy, Ollie, and Gladys, six delinquent children surnamed Herdman who engage in misfit behavior for their age such as smoking, drinking jug wine, and shoplifting. They go to church for the first time after being told that the church offers snacks. Despite protests from other church members, they are given roles in the Sunday school's Christmas play, in which they tell the Christmas story in a nonconventional fashion. Robinson first published the story in McCall's magazine before it was adapted into a book, which sold over 800,000 copies.