Baby Business reviewed by Georgie Donaghey
The birth of a baby is a time of celebration, a time of family coming together. In Indigenous cultures, the rituals that surround these welcoming ceremonies are connected with the land, their ancestors and the traditions of their people.
Jasmine Seymour's beautiful book, Baby Business, is inviting from the cover to the last page. Greeted by an open-armed baby, readers are taken on a journey with the Darug women to a smoking ceremony.
Steeped in rich history, the smoking ceremony welcomes baby to country. It's strictly women and children who welcome this baby to Country. Smoke curls around the newborn connecting them to their land.
'Warm smoke on your chest to keep your Mudjin (family) and Country close to your heart.'
The leaves used in these rituals are from special healing plants that protect children from becoming sick. Ceremonies are held to get rid of any bad spirits. The smoke is a blessing. It will protect the baby and remind them to care for their Country as it cares for them.
It was interesting to learn the significance of the smoking ceremony and what's involved.
'Warm smoke from the fire on the child's feet to connect them to Country.'
Each page reveals more insight into the traditions of the Darug women and will no doubt help to start conversations during Aboriginal learning times. It is a valuable resource that will help children appreciate different cultures and how they celebrate a new life.
There is a summary included in the back of the book to help explain Darug terminologies.
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 met Governor Phillip on the banks of the Hawkesbury in 1791.
Jasmine is a primary school teacher in the Hawkesbury. She hopes that through her books, everyone will know the Darug mob are still active within the local community.
Author/Illustrator: Jasmine Seymour
Publisher: Magabala Books