Book Review: Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers, by LaRocca and Prabhat

Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers
Author: Rajani LaRocca
Illustrator: Chaaya Prabhat
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Ages: 3-6
Genre: Picture book, fiction

Bina decides to create beaded bracelets to gift her brothers for the Hindu holiday of Raksha Bandhan, a celebration of siblings. She talks with each brother to discover their favorite colors and other activities that they enjoy. She gathers supplies and a variety of beads, but then she encounters a problem: how can she create a colorful bracelet for each brother while keeping track of the colors they don’t like?

In this story, a mathematical lesson is subtly woven into a celebration of siblings’ care for one another (even though sometimes they’re annoying). Bina learns how to create patterns in the beaded bracelets; and as they watch Bina thread bracelets, readers will learn about basic pattern recognition and how to integrate patterns into play. Skillful dialogue and short sentences contribute to the sweet, childlike voice of the text that reads more like a story than a math lesson.

A warm, rich color palette and textured backgrounds create a cozy depth in the illustrations. Thoughtful details like alternating colors of rug tassels and Bina’s striped shirt reinforce Bina’s lesson on pattern recognition. An end note about “Exploring the Math” prompts readers to find and make patterns in real life.

Perhaps most important, instead of being a dry, didactic lesson on diversity, this book is a joyful celebration of the Indian holiday Raksha Bandhan that will help build a true appreciation. It joins a great collection of Storytelling Math books from Charlesbridge publishers and releases on April 20th.

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