Vivek Shraya

The Boy & The Bindi

Hardcover • 32 pages • Released by Arsenal Pulp Press

An illustration of a young, smiling, brown-skinned boy with flowers in his hair, against a colourful starry background. Text: The Boy & The Bindi; Written by Vivek Shraya; Illustrated by Rajni Perera.

The Boy & The Bindi is a playful picture book about a young boy’s fascination with the dot on his mother’s forehead.

Ammi, why do you wear that dot?
What’s so special about that spot?

It’s not a dot, says my Ammi—
It’s not a spot, it’s a bindi!

With his mom’s help, the boy discovers that wearing a bindi allows him to joyfully explore and express his difference—and that even a little “spot” can be meaningful and magical.

Featuring illustrations by Rajni Perera.


  • 2017 South Asia Book Award


— Kirkus Books

“Some of the most lush illustrations I’ve ever seen… the picturebook is sure to delight readers, young and old.”

“Beautiful and inspiring treasure.”

— Resource Links

“A beautiful read and a visual extravaganza.”

“Imparting an important lesson on inclusivity and individuality, this multicultural, intergenerational story of young agency is a timely acquisition for all libraries.”

“…And most precious and rare of all among children’s books, it’s a well told, richly illustrated representation of expansive gender that isn’t white. This matters because, like so much of children’s publishing, books that feature kids exploring gender in non-traditional ways almost always feature white characters.”

More Press

Gender Spectrum Story Time

Book reading and interview with Pamela Wool of Gender Spectrum

Free Teacher’s Guide

This teacher’s guide is an adaptable resource to support students and teachers as they explore and engage with The Boy & the Bindi. The lessons were piloted with a group of Grade 2 students; however, they can be adapted to suit the learning needs and interest of students ranging from Kindergarten to Grade 8.


  • The Boy and the Bindi press photo by Rajni Perera
  • Toronto Star, June 2017