In this beautiful children's picture book by Vivek Shraya, author of the acclaimed God Loves Hair, a five-year-old boy becomes fascinated with his mother's bindi, the red dot commonly worn by South Asian women to indicate the point at which creation begins, and wishes to have one of his own. Rather than chastise her son, she agrees to it, and teaches him about its cultural significance, allowing the boy to discover the magic of the bindi, which in turn gives him permission to be more fully himself.
Beautifully illustrated with hand paintings by Rajni Perera, The Boy & the Bindi is a joyful celebration of gender and cultural difference.
Ages 4 to 8.
Vivek Shraya is the author of the young-adult collection God Loves Hair, the novel She of the Mountains, the poetry book even this page is white, and the children's picture book (with Rajni Perera) The Boy & the Bindi (all published by Arsenal Pulp Press), as well as I'm Afraid of Men and What I Love About Being QUEER. She is editor of the Arsenal Pulp Press imprint VS. Books, dedicated to work by young black, Indigenous, and writers of colour. Vivek was the 2014 recipient of the Steinert & Ferreiro Award for leadership in Toronto's LGBTQ community, the recipient of Anokhi Media's inaugural Most Promising LGBTQ Community Crusader Award in 2015, a 2015 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award finalist, and a 2015 recipient of the Writers' Trust of Canada's Dayne Ogilvie Prize Honour of Distinction. Originally from Edmonton, she now lives in Calgary, where she is an assistant professor in the University of Calgary's Department of English.
Rajni Perera is a Sri Lankan-born artist whose internationally showcased work floats between Western and immigrant culture. She lives in Toronto.
The story is simple but incredibly touching and the words are accompanied by the most vibrant illustrations, ones that truly suit the vibrancy of South Asian culture. This may also be a great book to reach for when introducing Hinduism to anyone who is curious or confused about it. -Book Riot
The easy rhyming and vivid colors make this an unforgettable look into Hindu culture. -Kirkus Reviews
Suitable as a gentle introduction to Hindu culture, this simple reflection will complement multicultural collections. The beautiful and detailed illustrations, such as those of Ammi's traditional dress and jewelry, provide additional cultural context. -Booklist
Shraya's story defines and affirms important values of Hindu culture -- and nudges gender norms, as well. -Publishers Weekly
A beautiful picture book [that explores] queer South Asian themes. -Huffington Post
Shraya makes her picture book debut with gentle rhymes and warm whimsy, amplified by Perara's richly hued illustrations.
-School Library Journal
A well told, richly illustrated representation of expansive gender that isn't white ... Shraya's warm and entertaining rhyming text tells a story about difference without relying on bullying, and shares with all kids something about the world told through the intimate lens of a child's experience of their body, mind, and spirit.
As a story, it's beautifully told, and the bright and colourful hand-painted illustrations complement the text perfectly. A great addition to a classroom bookshelf or home library. -Canadian Children's Booknews (Recommended)
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