BRACELETS FOR BINA’S BROTHERS by Rajani LaRocca is a delight. The picture book is centered on preparing for the Hindu celebration of Raksha Bandhan, a celebration of brothers and sisters. This year Bina feels she is old enough to make bracelets for her brothers on her own, although she enlists the “help” from her dog Tara. Readers follow Bina as she sneaks around on a reconnaissance mission to discover each brother’s favorite and least favorite color. What results is a seamless example of “storytelling math” that combines cultural awareness, sweet family interactions, and lessons in noticing and creating patterns aimed at preschool aged children.
Bina’s adventures in bracelet-making involves choosing colors, finding special beads, stringing beads in colorful patterns, and solving the problem of when to start over and when to adjust her plans. It’s charming, and the math lesson of patterns doesn’t take over the storytelling, but it remains a pivotal part of Bina’s task. The simple pattern activities at the end of the book are the perfect way to continue on from the sweet introductory pattern lesson in the story. There is also a description of Raksha Bandhan and its meaning.
Chaaya Prabhat’s joyful illustrations are colorful and expressive. There are myriad details throughout for children to notice, count, and identify. The family dog, Tara, is depicted as beloved and mischievous. And each character exudes personality and various styles of hair and clothing.
Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers is part of the storytelling math series from Charlesbridge Publishers developed with TERC, a non-profit focused on improving mathematics and science education.