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Baby Business Review
Written and illustrated by Jasmine Seymour
Recommended for ages 4-8 years
This beautiful picture book has been shortlisted for its illustrations, and the way they work with the text to tell the story. Baby Business is the story of a baby smoking ceremony on Durag Country. A baby smoking ceremony is the baby's first welcome to country, which protects the new infant. The text and soft illustrations takes us through the items needed for the ceremony, and explains why this ceremony is so important. The smoke will get rid of bad spirits.
The smoke also helps the baby to belong to Country by infusing its whole being with the smell of Country through the smoke.
The child is passed through the smoke and is delivered its first lessons in law. Lessons that teach it how to look after Country, especially the child’s totem.
In aboriginal spirituality, a totem is a natural object, plant or animal that is inherited by members of a clan or family as their spiritual emblem. For aboriginals their totem determines their responsibilities in their clan or family, their relationships with each other and their relationship with creation.
The last two lines in this picture book are probably the most powerful: “Remember that it (Country) does not belong to us. We belong to Country”.
This book also has a glossary at the back.
This is the first book that Jasmine has written!
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. Maria was the first Aboriginal woman to be educated by the Blacktown Native Institute. She was married to carpenter and convict, Robert Lock and their union resulted in thousands of descendants who can all trace their Darug heritage back past Yarramundi. 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.
Jasmine says of her illustrations “The pictures were inspired somewhat by my own experience of growing up on country in Maraylya, NSW. Many times I have walked through the bush with my own Nanna and felt completely loved and connected by and to Country.” Jasmine’s illustrations have been produced digitally.