Baby Dance, by Ann Taylor, with illustrations by Marjorie van Heerden, is a sweet little board book about a daddy who gives mommy a break as she naps, by playing with their baby girl. They dance, they sing and they twirl long enough for mommy to get some much needed rest. I chose this for the Black History Month Book Parade for a few reasons. First, it is vitally important for children of color to see themselves in literature from birth (because you should be reading to them from or before birth). They need to be able to identify with who they are in relation to the world around them. Second, as my children learned to read, they often used board books as some of their first readers. The words are usually easy and the illustrations are vibrant and engaging for a young child.
My third reason is probably my most compelling. Not too many years ago -, when I was the mom to an 18 – month – old and a newborn, my sweet, sweet, sleep deprived husband used to do this very same thing. Thing 2 was a “cryer” – she cried about absolutely everything. And, I was about the only person that she would allow to touch her. So, on those rare occasions that I could sneak in a little nap ( with Thing 2 sleeping on my chest) while he was at home, he would play and dance and sing with Thing 1, much to her delight. She would laugh, you know, that belly laugh that kids get and they run out of air because they are laughing so hard? I have to admit that on more than one occasion I pretended to still be sleeping because I loved listening to them. This book, Baby Dance, reminds me of those days. Those are precious memories that will linger a lifetime.