The White Ravens Database

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

English / USA

First laugh. Welcome, baby!

Tahe, Rose Ann (text)
Flood, Nancy Bo (text)
Nelson, Jonathan (illus.)
Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, [2018]. – [32] p.
ISBN 978-1-58089-794-5

Native Americans  | Navajo <people>  | Baby  | Welcome ceremony  | Picture book

Reading age: 3+

White Ravens issue: 2019


Seeing a young baby giggle and smile is always a joy. For Navajo people, it is more than just that: A baby’s first laugh is a particularly significant moment, commemorated with a special ceremony in which the child is formally welcomed into its family and clans. In this poetic, witty, and touching picture book, Rose Ann Tahe (Diné/Navajo) and Nancy Bo Flood recount how the various members of a loving Navajo family try very hard to get a true laugh out of their little baby. Neither big brother’s silly faces, nor sister’s flute-playing, or Mama’s song achieve more than a smile. Yet eventually, the grandparents are rewarded with a big laugh. Jonathan Nelson’s (Diné/Navajo) matt illustrations created in pencil, ballpoint, and photoshop present a modern tight-knit family, their cosy city apartment, as well as modern-day life on the Navajo Nation, with many endearing, culturally specific details. An informative appendix provides details about the First Laugh Celebration and other ceremonies welcoming new babies around the world.