The Boy & the Bindi

by Vivek Shraya

Hardcover, 2016

Status

Available

Collection

Publication

Arsenal Pulp Press (2016), 32 pages

Description

"A playful story ... about a young boy's fascination with the dot on his mother's forehead"--Back cover. A young boy becomes fascinated with his mother's bindi, and asks her to explain what it is and why she wears it. She tells him that the red dot is commonly worn by Hindu women to indicate the point at which creation begins. When he wishes to have one of his own, 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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member kerribrary
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 really positive way. I like that it doesn't treat any of those things as a "very special" issue -- the story itself feels really down to earth and authentic, despite the sometimes awkward writing.
… (more)
LibraryThing member kerribrary
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 really positive way. I like that it doesn't treat any of those things as a "very special" issue -- the story itself feels really down to earth and authentic, despite the sometimes awkward writing.
… (more)
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
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, in India the use of the bindi - a decorative mark that is situated over the spot in the forehead considered the location of the mystical "third eye" - does seem to be a gendered practice. I have vivid memories of a college friend from India who would become very incensed about the topic, considering the bindi a symbol of the oppression of women. For my part, having not studied the subject, I have no strong or fixed opinion on the matter, and approached The Boy & The Bindi with curiosity. Here the practice seems more a marker of identity, although its spiritual aspects are touched upon as well. The text is somewhat clunky at times (always a risk, with rhyming tales), but overall the narrative is positive and upbeat, and the artwork, done by Rajni Perera, is lovely. This one reminded me of Jacob's New Dress, a similar story of a boy embracing traditionally female attire, but it is nice to see a story bringing in South Asian culture as well. Recommended to anyone looking for children's stories in which the characters experiment with gendered behavior and dress.
… (more)

Language

Original language

English

Physical description

32 p.; 11.25 inches

ISBN

1551526689 / 9781551526683

Local notes

Voices for Trans Youth Rainbow Reading List book

Barcode

576

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