Review of ‘Baby Business’
‘Baby Business’ tells the story of the baby smoking ceremony that welcomes baby to country. The smoke is a blessing — it will protect the baby and remind them that they belong.
Title: ‘Baby Business’
Author/illustrator: Jasmine Seymour
Publisher: Magabala Books
Age Range: babies, early childhood.
Themes: Indigenous culture, newborns, ceremony, rituals, sustainability, land, culture, family.
It will come as little surprise to you that buying books for newborns is one of my favourite things to do. There is no better gift than the gift of story and my extensive list of ‘Books for Newborns’ is here and ‘Baby Business’ has been added.
Very occasionally I just have a gut reaction to a book and know that it is a story that is so very special and will remain with me always. Such was the case when first reading ‘Baby Business’ by Jasmine Seymour. The world over, there are rituals to celebrate and welcome babies into the world and in ‘Baby Business’ we are introduced to the beautiful tradition of an Indigenous smoking ceremony. ‘Baby Business’ felt like being warmly invited to witness the very intimate occasion of a baby being welcomed into country as wisps of smoke bathes the newborn and connects them to their land, keeps them safe from bad spirits and encourages them to always remember their family, law, land and language. It is a reminder to readers of all backgrounds about the importance of acknowledging and celebrating our ancestors and the land from which we came and is the perfect springboard for discussions around how cultures welcome babies to the wider communities though events, ceremonies and symbols.
Remember that it does not belong to us. We belong to country.
Jasmine Seymour is a Darug woman and a descendant of Maria Lock, daughter of Yarramundi, the Boorooberongal Elder who had met Governor Phillip on the banks of the Hawkesbury in 1791. It is Jasmine’s wish that through her books, everyone will know that the Darug mob are still here, still strong. Jasmine is a primary school teacher in the Hawkesbury area of NSW.