Spotlight image: Suma Subramaniam and Kamala Nair
From: the Kids Can Press’ website.
A young girl discovers that a bindi is more than just a dot that goes between her brows. With the help of her paati, she learns how to make a bindi using a clay pot, turmeric, sandalwood powder and a dollop of ghee. They mix and mix and mix until, like magic, the mixture turns from yellow to bright red. Her bindi can be many things – big or small, shaped like a dot or a glowing crescent moon, worn to celebrate a festival or on any day of the year. But one thing is for certain: how much her bindi means to her.
This lyrical picture book is a celebration of a cultural tradition that is steeped in history and practiced by millions of people around the world.
Suma’s reflection: The inspiration for this picture book came from a loving obsession with bindis when I was growing up. In my little dresser box, there was always room for one more packet of bindis. Bindis have many different names. They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. I dedicated this book to the elders in my family who never missed an opportunity to share the significance and meaning with me.
Dedication inside the book:
For Amma and Appa always,
for Kala Sithi, who shared her brilliant ideas,
and for Jaya Paati and Sarada Athai, who always stressed the importance of a pottu
I wrote this book to share what I learned about bindis from those who came before me with readers who wear them as well as those who are curious to know more. A Bindi Can Be … would not be possible without their voices ringing in my head and my heart all these years.
Suma Subramaniam is the author of Namaste Is a Greeting, She Sang for India and The Runaway Dosa. She is also a contributor to The Hero Next Door, a collection of short stories from We Need Diverse Books. Born in Bengaluru, India, she now lives near Seattle, Washington. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
Kamala Nair is an illustrator and author of children’s books, as well as an architect. She is the creator of the picture book We Did It Together and the illustrator of The Way Champs Play, written by Naomi Osaka. When she’s not in her studio, she’s taking in the sunsets of Kerala, India, sketchbook in hand. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin.