Gita Varadarajan, Author
Archana Sreenivasan, Illustrator
Scholastic Books, Fiction, Aug. 16, 2022
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes: Culture, India, Belonging, Believing in yourself, Embracing your heritage, Multicultural
Opening: “My mother, my amma, places a big red dot on her forehead. She wears a bindi every day…even when she sleeps.”
In this universal story about embracing who we are and where we come from, a young girl finds the magic, power, and history of wearing a bindi for the first time, in this moving and lyrical picture book debut from Gita Varadarajan.
There in the mirror, I see a shining star.
My mother’s joy, my father’s pride.
And then I see something else:
I see me.
The day has come for Divya to choose her bindi. But as she prepares for school, she begins to have doubts. What if she gets made fun of? What will it feel like? Will she be brave enough to face her classmates and their questions? But Amma assures her that her bindi will bring protection. After Divya looks inside Amma’s special box to find the perfect bindi to put on, she gazes in the mirror and discovers a new side of herself, and it gives her strength.
In this tender debut picture book, author Gita Varadarajan crafts a powerful story about belonging, embracing your heritage, and believing in yourself. Archana Sreenivasan’s vibrant and magical illustrations bring to life this journey of self-discovery. My Bindi is a universal message of the importance finding oneself and celebrating the unique beliefs and experiences that make us who we are.
What’s to like about My Bindi:
What a special story about courage, believing in yourself and trusting your friends to support you.
As Divya peers into her Amma’s beautiful bindi box, she sees “a galaxy of bindis — like a million stars in the sky.” There are so many dazzling bindis to choose from — raindrops, stars, moons — but she picks a blazing sun. When she sees the bindi glimmering between her brows, her feelings get all mixed up.
Her classmates’ response is delightful. Of course they are very curious, ask lots of questions and think it’s cool. I enjoyed how her teacher invites Divya to tell the class what she’s wearing and why. It is so important to share different customs.
Readers will learn about the Hindu cultural heritage and the meaning behind the wearing the bindi, a spiritual tradition handed down from mother to daughter. Make sure you check out the author’s note at the end of the book about wearing bindi.
Such beautiful, lively and expressive artwork by Archana Sreenivasan’s. The colorful illustrations just jump off the pages and children will adore pouring through the pages.
Resources: This book is a wonderful read aloud in any classroom and perfect for every school library. It opens the door for kids to share cultural traditions of their own in a welcoming setting. Have are sharing day, or have students write about a family tradition.
Gita Varadarajan was born and raised in India. She has worked with children all over the world and currently teachers at Riverside Elementary School in Princeton, New Jersey. My Bind is her new picture book debut, and she is also co-author of the middle-grade bestseller Save Me a Seat.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Reviewed from a library copy.