Bindu's Bindis by Supriya Kelkar, illustrated by Parvati Pillai


Bindu's Bindis 
by Supriya Kelkar, illustrated by Parvati Pillai
Review Copy from Sterling Books

Bindu's Bindis is a marvelous book about differences and finding the courage sometimes needed to be comfortable with being different. It's also a lovely story about the love and connection shared between granddaughter and grandmother, vibrantly, expressively illustrated by Pillai. Bindu's Bindis begins with an exuberant Bindi finding joy in the bindis that her nani sends her every month. As with the main character in Kelkar's other picture book, The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh, readers see children engaging with a cultural or religious custom in creative and meaningful ways. Where the color of Harpreet's daily choice of patka (the turban Sikhs wear to signify their commitment to service) reflects his many moods, Bindu's choice of bindi is a sign of her connection to her nani as well as an expression of her experience.

When Nani comes to visit, a joyous event is marred by xenophobic protesters at the airport and for the first time, Bindu feels like she should remove her bindi. Finding connection, comfort and joy in matching her Nani, Bindu holds her head up high, just like Nani, as her family walks past the shouting protestors. Bindu finds confidence in the face of fear once more as she prepares to perform in her school talent show. No matter what Nani suggests, no bindi is right. Bindu is "sick of feeling unique" and refuses to go on stage as the music for her dance begins. Nani gets up on stage and begins Bindu's dance, head held up high and bindi sparkling, finally inspiring Bindu to join her. 

The final pages show Bindu, again finding joy in her bindis as she wears them to temple, to holidays, at home and, of course, dancing with Nani, "for all the world to see."

Kelkar includes a not on bindis, adding depth to her story.

Also by Supriya Kelkar

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