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The Boy & The Bindi

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  486 ratings  ·  90 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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Average rating 4.20  · 
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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.
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: september-2020
this is a very beautiful book that taught me a lot
Christie Angleton
The art in this book is stunning and I love how affirming it is - I just wish there was some back matter or other type of author's note to teach readers more about the bindi (what it means, cultural significance, etc.). ...more
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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! ...more
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. ...more
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.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sweet story that would be a wonderful addition to anyone's library! ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous illustrations with a gentle look at gender non-conforming exploration during childhood. Really lovely book.
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Lets talk about culture! Lets talk about heritage! Lets talk about gender! Lets talk about incredibly beautiful and unique illustrations!
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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 one ca
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
Alex Wakeham
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.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kaylani Brown
The Boy & The Bindi is a picture book for readers 5 and up, but I'd say all ages can enjoy this book. This rhyming story follows a boy who is curious about his Ammi’s (mother) bindi. The boy asks if he can have a bindi, and she happily gives him one. His bindi makes him feel safe and secure and he says it his third eye, watching over him constantly and keeping him connected to himself. From this story, the reader learns the meaning of the bindi to Hindu people. With this perspective of a young b ...more
Megan Mason
This is a cultural book about a girl named Ammi and her bindi that she has on her forehead. Ammi is a mother I believe and her son is asking a bunch of questions about the bindi that Ammi is wearing. The story tells you what a bindi is and what it means to wear it. It also talks a little about how others view it as just a spot or something weird on their head, but to them it is something much more special.

This book is such a cute and gorgeous story about a piece of what I b
Emily Newcomer
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jiahui Z
I found this book not only through Kirkus reviews but also a few lists of must-read LGBTQ books. This book features the story of a young boy and his connection with the bindi that his mother wears. I thought the story overall allowed the reader to understand more about the bindi, but I could see how someone expecting this to feature LGBTQ topics would be somewhat confused. Without proper background knowledge on who typically wears a bindi, the reader may think the boy just wanted to be like his ...more
Beth Vredenburg
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
The artwork in this book is lovely.
It's about a young child who is curious about the dot on his mother's forehead, and begins to wear it himself.
I love the message about not conforming to gender roles and being yourself.
I'm also thrilled to find a story that is not white and centered on western cultural norms.

I did have some trouble scanning some of the lines of verse in this book, but otherwise I quite enjoyed it.
Katie (readingwithkt)
😭😭 Oh, this was beautiful! A short children’s book about a boy whose curiosity about his mother’s bindi leads him to discover its significance and meaning in his life. The illustrations actually almost brought me to tears. So so beautiful. The moments between mother and child were captured so simply but filled my heart with joy and comfort and all the fuzzy lovely feelings. Big love to the illustrator, Rajni Perera!
Miss Susan
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poc-author
the art for this is really lovely, colourful and detailed. the rhyming is a little awkward at times but overall it's a sweet story of a boy getting a bindi from his mom. i'd recommend reading it in print format, i borrowed it as an ebook from my library and the app did a poor job of displaying the pages appropriately

3 stars
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
I like the idea, and it is nice to see a bindi represented in children's literature, but I don't think the sort-of clunky text explains it all that well. I appreciated that the boy wanting to wear the bindi is not made a huge deal of, as it is typically women who wear them, but if a child doesn't know that, this book won't tell them. ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book comes up a lot when looking for books about trans & gender non-conforming kids, but I don't really think this reads as being so much about gender expression as cultural expression. The lack of understanding from other kids in the book seems more like "I don't know what that is" and less like "that's not for boys." ...more
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Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film. She is the author of The Subtweet, Death Threat, even this page is white, The Boy & The Bindi, She of the Mountains, and God Loves Hair; and her best-selling I’m Afraid of Men was her­ald­ed by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel”. She is one half of the music duo Too Attac ...more

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