First Laugh — Welcome, Baby!


by Rose Ann Tahe and Nancy Bo Flood
illustrations by Jonathan Nelson

In Navajo families, the first person to make a new baby laugh hosts the child’s First Laugh Ceremony. Who will earn the honor in this story?

The First Laugh Ceremony is a celebration held to welcome a new member of the community. As everyone—from Baby’s nima (mom) to nadi (big sister) to cheii (grandfather)—tries to elicit the joyous sound from Baby, readers are introduced to details about Navajo life and the Navajo names for family members. Back matter includes information about other cultural ceremonies that welcome new babies and children, including man yue celebration (China), sanskaras (Hindu) and aquiqa (Muslim).

Ages 2 – 5
Hardcover | 32 pages | Charlesbridge | 2018

Rose Ann Tahe was born into the Naaneesh’t’ezhi Tachii’nii nish’li (The Charcoal Streaked Division of the Red Running Into the Water Clan), born for Ashiihi bashish’chiin (Salt People Clan). Rose held a doctoral degree in elementary education leadership and a master’s degree in elementary education. Rose died in 2015, and her son and three daughters support this posthumous publication.

Nancy Bo Flood has written several books including Navajo YearWalk Through Many Seasons (Arizona Book of the Year) and Warriors in the Crossfire (Colorado Book of the Year). Her recent titles include No-Name Baby (Top 100 Books of the Year, Bank Street) and Cowboy Up, Ride the Navajo Rodeo, a Junior Library Guild Selection. Legends and folklore are of particular interest to Nancy, for they hold the magic and mystery of other people’s—or generation’s—beliefs. When we read, we learn—about ourselves and about someone—or sometime—else.

Jonathan Nelson is a Navajo graphic designer, graphic artist, and illustrator. He is Kiiyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan) and Naakai Dine’é (Mexican Clan). Jonathan designs and creates art and illustrations with paints, pixels, and ballpoint pens. This is his first picture book.

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