Baje grew up on the Navajo Reservation near Shonto, Arizona. As a child, he was first drawn into the world of storytelling when he and his brothers would make up stories on the way to their grandmother’s house. His talent for art was apparent even in grade school, and his teachers were all supportive of his gift.
Currently, Baje resides in Flagstaff, Arizona, and he continues to pursue his childhood interests of storytelling and art. His artwork reflects his homeland and rich culture, depicting striking landscapes and the harmony of the Navajo way of life. In most of his pieces is a small folding chair, popularly regarded as Baje’s personal trademark.
“When I was a boy, my parents and grandparents brought home a new card table with six metallic blue chairs. In the summer months, I would put my face against the cool seat of the chairs. Now, I include the chair in my artwork because it reminds me of my boyhood and because it draws people into my artwork when they try to find it.”
Baje has illustrated eight children’s books, two of which he also authored. Among them are the Native American legends Monster Bird, Monster Slayer, and Sika and the Raven. His unique style has earned him the Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the Cowboy Hall of Fame, in addition to many other honors.
Baje’s artwork can be seen at various museums, art galleries, and private collections across the globe.
Father’s Boots – Author and Illustrator
Every winter, the brothers Tall Leo, Big Leo, and Little Leonard go to their Grandmother Sally’s hogan for the winter holidays. None of the brothers look forward to the visits: Grandmother Sally always tells long, boring stories about the Holy People. This year, however, it is different.
Father is away working for the railroad, and he might not be home for the holidays. Feeling in a serious mood, the brothers retell one of Grandmother Sally’s stories. By sharing the story amongst themselves, the brothers grow closer to one another and come to a deeper understanding of their culture.
A touching story, Father’s Boots is a necessary read for children feeling out-of-touch with their background.
Beauty Beside Me, Beauty of My Grandmother’s Skirts – Illustrator
In the Navajo culture, grandmothers and grandfathers serve as the first teachers. Author Seraphine G. Yazzie vividly recalls the teachings of her grandmother in this uplifting story. Children will identify with many of the activities which include making delicious fry bread, picking tasty pinon nuts and weaving beautiful rugs.
As the story unfolds, Grandmother is seen wearing different colored skirts for each activity. Grandmother’s skirts symbolize a reservoir of kindness and love extended to her family and all those around her. Renowned painter, Baje Whitethorne Sr. illustrates each scene brilliantly capturing the magic shared between grandmother and granddaughter.