Tahe, Rose Ann and Nancy Bo Flood. First Laugh—Welcome, Baby!. Jonathan Nelson, Illus. Picture Book. Charlesbridge, 08/2018. 32pp. $16.99. 978-1-58089-794-5. OUTSTANDING. GRADES PRE-2.
First Laugh—Welcome, Baby! follows a multi-generational Indigenous family as a new baby is welcomed into their urban and rural lives. The Navajo/Diné tradition for baby welcoming has family members strive to be the first to make a new baby laugh and grants the one who succeeds the privilege of hosting the baby’s welcome party. Tahe, Flood, and Nelson worked together within a shared cultural context as Navajo/Diné people to represent their presence in the modern world for the children of their communities. They created a lovely picture book that includes back matter connecting this specific story of baby-welcoming to other traditions with the same purpose in other cultures around the world. Tahe and Flood’s quietly joyful book offers a go-to for families with new additions that might want something other than new-baby books focused on sibling rivalry. Nelson’s richly-hued comic-style illustrations make good use of desert palettes to imbue the story with warmth and connection to ancestral Navajo/Diné lands. First Laugh—Welcome, Baby! should find a home in the children’s collections of public libraries as well as preschool and elementary school classroom libraries.
Janine deManda, San Francisco PL/Oakland PL