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The Boy & The Bindi
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The Boy & The Bindi

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  279 ratings  ·  61 reviews
A beautiful children’s picture book that showcases a young Indian boy’s fascination with his mother’s bindi, the red dot commonly worn by Hindu women. Rather than chastise her son, she teaches him about its cultural significance and doesn’t flinch when he asks for one himself. Wearing it allows him to joyfully explore and express his difference.
Hardcover, 38 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published September 13th 2016)
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4.18  · 
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 ·  279 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Beautiful rhyming musical text and vibrantly coloured illustrations. I love how the gender non-conformity of the boy wanting his mom's bindi is totally not made into a big deal. Very affirming for brown and/or gender non-conforming kids!

See my full review on my blog.
Serena Yates
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I am no expert on children’s books by any stretch of the imagination, I did enjoy reading them to my nieces and nephews when they were younger. Some books originally intended for younger audiences can be enjoyed at any age, and I think that ‘The Boy and the Bindi’ is a good example. The target age may be 4 to 8 years, but the message behind this beautifully illustrated story is compelling and applicable to people of any age.

On the face of it, the story is simple. A young boy is fascinated
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Books in Which the Characters Experiment with Gendered Dress
A young boy is fascinated by his mother's bindi in this rhyming picture-book from Canadian artist and author Vivek Shraya. Attracted to the "bright and pretty spot," he is given a poetic explanation of what a bindi is and does, keeping one "safe and true," and reminding the wearer of where she comes from. When the boy asks his mother if he can have a bindi, she gives him one to wear, and he immediately feels calm and happy...

Although not associated exclusively with women in all Asian cultures, i
While the rhymes were a bit clunky at times, I appreciate that this book exists. Finding children's books by queer authors in the library is so encouraging, especially when I think about how much I would have appreciated these kinds of things when I was younger. (Which really wasn't all that long ago, but things have changed so much in even just the past fifteen years, I'm so excited to see more LGBTQA literature out there.)

This book touches on identity, gender, culture, and it's all done in a r
Kris Dersch
Really lovely book. I love it when children's books teach me things and I learned about the bindi from this one, as well as it being an awesome depiction of acceptance and a little boy's relationship with his mother. I agree with other reviewers that the rhyme scheme isn't perfect but to me that just made it sound more like his voice, trying it his way. I think this one worked really well in first person.
The Boy and the Bindi is a very sweet story about a young boy's connection to his mother's Bindi and his own Bindi. The gentle rhyming pattern works very well, and delivers the story in a smooth way that is easy for read-alouds. The illustrations are lovely and really bring the story to life.

I look forward to reading more from the author. I definitely recommend this one.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous illustrations with a gentle look at gender non-conforming exploration during childhood. Really lovely book.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A sweet story that would be a wonderful addition to anyone's library!
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this for my English Literature for Children class (396) and had the pleasure to actually hear a lecture given by the author! Who I must say, is extremely fashionable, knowledgeable and conscious of social issues.

From our analysis of picture books, I have learned that children's books sometimes address political and social issues and are actually more complicated than what we expect.

I appreciate how the author depicted a darker skinned Indian individual, the acceptance of the mother in giv
Alex Wakeham
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a multicultural book about a young Indian boy discovering himself and his place in his culture. He is proud of his heritage and shares information about his culture. He is encouraged by his older sister. I think this book would help students to be able to explore themselves and look to find meaning in who they are in the world. I think it also encourages positive relationships with others.
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This little picture book explores so much in such a tiny space. I loved the illustrations: they're saturated with color and are glorious in depicting the little boy, his Ammi, and what the bindi means to both of them. I really liked Ammi's response to her son and how the son learned and grew from it. I learned so much about bindis and it was fascinating!
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Glad the library has this in the collection.
I liked this book, but appreciate it more after reading the reviews. I wish it did not assume so much in prerequisite knowledge to understand the significance.
I had no idea that 1. the bindi had a special name-- bindi, (as opposed to a dot), or 2. that it is usually worn by women. So, until I read the reviews, I had no clue that this might have been an unusual family exchange, with a "nonconforming" or LGBTQ or specific twist to this story. I only saw the story first as an introduction to the
Ben Truong
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Boy & the Bindi is a children's picture book written by Vivek Shraya and illustrated by Rajni Perera, which tells a story about a boy questioning his mother about her bindi and asking for one himself.

Shraya's text is rather simply wonderful – it's simplistic, straightforward, yet has a innocence and almost poetic tone to it. Through the inquisitiveness of the boy, we get to learn about what a Bindi is and what the purpose of wearing one. Perera's illustrations are simply wonderful and on
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
In this rhyming picture book, a young boy decides to wear a colourful bindi between his brows just like his Ammi. He is fascinated by its beauty, and its relevance, once his mother explains why she puts it on. Like her, the boy finds that it calms him and opens his mind. It is a source of identity, and even cultural pride. Others may find it a curiosity, but to him, it is important. The most disappointing thing about this book is that the quality of the writing doesn't match the beauty of the id ...more
Emily Newcomer
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
My love for this book is mostly inspired by my love for India. It's a beautiful country rich in culture and tradition. I think it's good that there is children's literature out there representing Indian culture. Especially in a country (USA) where Christianity is the dominant (but not official) religion that is depicted in most media, it's important that children see other religions in their text to keep them open to people's differences.

The boy's curiosity is true to that of a child and even t
Kathleen O'Dell
This book is a truly beautiful book, and I am glad that there are LGBTQQ-related books that include different cultures. The illustrations are wonderfully done and full of rich color. The rhyming makes this an easy read, and I think that it would really draw in children's attention. This book would show children that it is okay to explore the world around them. I think that the book would be a good way to also introduce something about a different culture as well. The main character also uses som ...more
Beth Vredenburg
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love!! This book is much needed. A poetic explanation of what a bindi is and why it is worn. This is such an important topic. This book is a must have for very diverse communities like the ones I work and live in but especially important for EVERYONES overall knowledge of a small part of a few of the worlds religions. I like the shedding of the stereotype of females only being the ones to wear bindis. This book turns that on its head, while teaching without being didactic.

Of Note: doesn't menti
Well, the pictures didn't impress me. And--forgive my spacey brain these days--I went the whole book thinking "the child looks like a boy" and I thought the Bindi was only for females. Eventually I looked at the title (which I have known for months), and went, "It IS a boy!" Yeah. No brain.

I didn't know anything about Bindis (can you pluralize it?) until this book. So I liked learning a little something, but there needed to be more explanation at the end. In some ways I left more confused. At le
Rachel Walters
A wonderful story of a boy discovering what a bindi is and why someone would wear one. So sweet, and presented in a child friendly way. Published in 2016. I would love to have this book in my classroom to help students learn about cultures.
Gorgeous. The illustrations are beautiful and there are some great messages about culture and remembrance, gender identity and queerness, being different and embracing that, feeling like you're not good enough and changing that, etc. Lovely!
Jordan Michelle Johnson
“The Boy and The Bindi” (realistic fiction) by Vivel Sharaya exemplifies how a mother’s love can transcend the traditional idea of gender. Shaya's story introduces children to a boy who values his spiritual beliefs over society's gender rules. Moreover, "The Boy and the Bindi" encourages children to defy society's expectations in order to remain true to their personal beliefs. Likewise, the story engages the reader to see gender identity from a new perspective. More specifically, when we think o ...more
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. A picture book about how important wearing a Bindi is to one's sense of belonging and self.
Shraya writes with an open voice and tons of emotion.
Marissa Elera
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
So special! LOVE!
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
LOVED. Wonderfully written. And it rhymes!
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very beautiful book.
Alison N
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, lgtbq
Simple yet lovingly written and beautifully drawn. If you've ever wanted to know about bindis, this is a great place to start.
Bina Artiste
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very cute. Wish it were longer
Ilham Alam
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book overall although I did find the rhymes a little awkward at places/trying to rhyme. Loved the illustrations
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Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, poetry, fiction, visual art, and film. A Publishing Triangle Award winner, her books include I'm Afraid of Men, even this page is white, The Boy & The Bindi, and She of the Mountains. Shraya is one half of music duo Too Attached and founder of publishing imprint VS. Books. She teaches creative writing at the Univer ...more