The Boy & the Bindi

Written by: Vivek Shraya

Illustrated by: Rajni Perera

For Ages: 2-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Gender Identity, Acceptance, Family, Indian Culture, POC-Centric Narratives.

Summary: This story is told by a narrator discovering his mother’s bindi, and becomes captivated by it.  He asks for one, and his mother obliges.  “As soon as it’s on, I feel so calm-like all the noise around is gone” and a deep sense of peace overcomes him.  The book touches on Indian culture and the significance of a bindi.  The narrator explains that a bindi is “like a third eye” that “keeps [them] true”.  This book is a beautiful introduction to both acceptance of differences within a group or classroom, as well as an introduction to different cultures.

Reflection Questions:

  • What is something special that a family member has given you?
  • How do you think the narrator felt when his mother let him have a bindi?
  • Do you know anyone that wears a bindi?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Learn about the different cultures within your classroom.  What is something special about it that you would like to share with friends that might not know about your culture?
  • What are some things you like that might not be “typical”?  Talk as a group about how to create a safe space for everyone to explore the interests they have.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

vivek shrayaVivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, and film. Her album with Queer Songbook Orchestra, Part‑Time Woman, was included in CBC’s list of Best Canadian Albums of 2017, and her first book of poetry, even this page is white, won a 2017 Publisher Triangle Award. Her best-selling new book, I’m Afraid of Men, was her­ald­ed by Vanity Fairas “cultural rocket fuel.” She is one half of the music duo Too Attached and the founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books. A Polaris Music Prize nominee and four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek was a 2016 Pride Toronto Grand Marshal, and has received honours from The Writers’ Trust of Canada and CBC’s Canada Reads. She is currently a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary.

rajni pereraRajni Perera‘s art explores issues of hybridity, sacrilege, irreverence, the indexical sciences, ethnography, gender, sexuality, popular culture, deities, monsters and dream worlds. All of these themes marry in a newly objectified realm of mythical symbioses. They are flattened on the medium and made to act as her personal record of impossible discoveries. In her work, she seeks to open and reveal the dynamism of these icons, both scripturally existent, self-invented and externally defined. She is creating a subversive aesthetic that counteracts antiquated, oppressive discourse, and acts as a restorative force through which people can move outdated, repressive modes of being towards reclaiming their power.

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