Bindu’s Bindis

Sterling. Mar. 2021. 32p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781454940203.
K-Gr 3–With warm storytelling and dazzling art, Kelkar and Pillai welcome readers into Bindu’s world. Bindu is a young South Asian girl who loves to dance almost as much as the bindis her grandmother mails her each month from India. The different shapes and colors of the sticker-like cosmetic—worn in the middle of the forehead—help Bindu to express herself, whether it is for a special occasion or just at home. When her grandmother Nani comes to visit, she helps Bindu courageously ignore xenophobic protesters, and also perform at her school’s talent show. Because Bindu loves to match her grandmother in all ways, their charming intergenerational bond helps Bindu transcend her fear of performing at her school. From beginning to end, Pillai has created rich, colorful cartoon-style illustrations with intricate details that give a nod to classical Indian artwork. Short sentences in large font are perfect for young readers, though some of the vocabulary and situations may be more relatable for readers on the older end of the range. A note from the author provides readers with more information on bindis, their significance, and many other names for them.
VERDICT As in the recent When Nana Akua Went to School, the elder generation nudges the young to embrace their culture and the challenges of fitting in. This #OwnVoices entry offers solutions as well as a healthy dose of joy.

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