The Bridge Home
When Viji and her sister, Rukku, whose developmental disability makes her overly trusting and vulnerable to the perils of the world, run away to live on their own, the situation could not be more grim. Life on the streets of the teeming city of Chennai is harsh for girls considered outcasts, but the sisters manage to find shelter on an abandoned bridge. There they befriend Muthi and Arul, two boys in a similar predicament, and the four children bond together and form a family of sorts. Viji starts working with the boys scavenging in trash heaps while Rukku makes bead necklaces, and they buy food with what little money they earn. They are often hungry and scared but they have each other--and Kutti, the best dog ever. When the kids are forced from their safe haven on the bridge, they take shelter in a graveyard. But it is now the rainy season and they are plagued by mosquitos, and Rukku and Muthu fall ill. As their symptoms worsen, Viji and Arul must decide whether to risk going for help--when most adults in their lives have proven themselves untrustworthy--or to continue holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.

The Bridge Home Details

TitleThe Bridge Home
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherNancy Paulsen Books
ISBN-139781524738112
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Fiction, Family

The Bridge Home Review

  • Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you @kidlitexchange @penguinkids and @venkatraman.padma for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. This middle grade, realistic fiction will be realeased 2.5.19!!This book takes place in India. It follows two sisters, Viji and Rukku, as they run away from their abusive father and choose to live on the streets. They soon team up with two sweet boys, Muthi and Arul, who share their shelter and show them how to find work. The four quickly form a tight bond, along with their cu Thank you @kidlitexchange @penguinkids and @venkatraman.padma for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. This middle grade, realistic fiction will be realeased 2.5.19!!This book takes place in India. It follows two sisters, Viji and Rukku, as they run away from their abusive father and choose to live on the streets. They soon team up with two sweet boys, Muthi and Arul, who share their shelter and show them how to find work. The four quickly form a tight bond, along with their cute stray dog and soon find that family can indeed be one that you pick yourself and happiness is often found in the most unexpected ways. Goodness, this book packs a punch. Don’t let the overall size or the short chapter lengths fool you. Venkatraman’s storytelling is absolutely vivid and full of every possible emotion. After reading the author’s notes you realize the personal connection on where she got her real life inspiration and it makes you appreciate the story a thousand times more. It was easy to fall in love with these kids and route for them along the way. I adored their innocence, kindness and self-preservation. I love books that introduce the reader to a different culture. This book includes a glossary at the beginning for those words you might not be familiar with. It’s a sweet book, but it’s also incredibly heartbreaking and sad. It does cover some pretty heavy topics, but in an age appropriate way. Along with abuse and homelessness, it addressed severe poverty, child labor, disability, death and religion. This is definitely a story that needs to be shared!!!
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    I have loved Padma Venkatraman's YA titles and was so excited to see she was writing a book for middle grade readers. The respect she has shown for this age group in the writing of this poignant novel is amazing. She has not shied away from exposing the harsh realities of the caste system of India, while also honoring the authentic graciousness and integrity of organizations like Concerned for Working Children.Viji, Ruku, Arul, and Muthi illuminate the power of friendship in the beautifully writ I have loved Padma Venkatraman's YA titles and was so excited to see she was writing a book for middle grade readers. The respect she has shown for this age group in the writing of this poignant novel is amazing. She has not shied away from exposing the harsh realities of the caste system of India, while also honoring the authentic graciousness and integrity of organizations like Concerned for Working Children.Viji, Ruku, Arul, and Muthi illuminate the power of friendship in the beautifully written story. Filled with humor, tension, heartbreak, and hope, this is a story that I know will capture the hearts of readers for years to come. This is a must read, must own, must share book!
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  • Tory
    January 1, 1970
    Based on true experiences: a bleak look at the plight of lower-caste street children in India. A message of hope overall, but wrapped in so much depression that it's hard to really *enjoy.* Much better written than the book I'd think to compare it to: "Amal Unbound."
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  • Pam Page
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, this book will make quite an impact with children but also adults! I hope to see more from Padma Venkatraman!
  • Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
    January 1, 1970
    MY RATING: 5/5 STARSI received an ARC from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for a honest review.Honestly, guys. Honestly, this book hands down converted me into a middle grade novel reader. Like I thought I would be too mature for the style of writing but THE BRIDGE HOME was written simply for a young reader but it didn't annoy me nor did the characters feel too childish for me to relate. This book has made me feel so many e m o t i o n s and has made me cry from many chapters. The Bridge MY RATING: 5/5 STARSI received an ARC from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for a honest review.Honestly, guys. Honestly, this book hands down converted me into a middle grade novel reader. Like I thought I would be too mature for the style of writing but THE BRIDGE HOME was written simply for a young reader but it didn't annoy me nor did the characters feel too childish for me to relate. This book has made me feel so many e m o t i o n s and has made me cry from many chapters. The Bridge Home follows two sisters. One sister, Viji, is the older one and it's told from her first person perspective but her younger sister, Rukku, is told in second person perspective. I know. Weird. But really cool that you are part of the story. Padma did a fantastic way of describing Rukku's feelings and actions that you totally felt like you were doing them and feeling all the things she felt. I loved it. Viji and Rukku are just these two young girls who has an abusive father and a mother who is too weak to physically fight back and financially incapable of walking away from the marriage. One night when the fight gets too bad, Viji takes Rukku from her bed and enters the big city to find a new way of living. However, when you have no money and no family, you find yourself with very limited options. They both meet two other boys, one similar age to Viji, named Arul, and a not that much younger boy named Muthi. For a second here, I thought they would fight like cats and dogs, absolutely hating each other but Arul is an angel. Instead of feeling threatened by Viji and her younger sister, he's accepting of them and offers tips and advice to live on the streets. They even share a common home--the bridge. Although this is a middle grade novel, this book is raw and so unbearably real. The circumstances these four young children face each day is heard of through charity commercials. They struggle to find food, shelter, and clothes. The dangers of the environment play a heavy role in this story, making it so realistic that you're worried about how these children could possibly survive. Towards he end, something does happen that makes you burst into tears. These children that you fall in love with are not in a fantastical world but in the real world we see today and they're not invincible.I just want to say that I love Arul. He's sooooooooooooo mature for his age. He's so wise for his age that I envy him. I'm twenty three years old and this boy is a better person than me hands down. If we could all take lessons from him to be as kind and sweet then this world would be less rough of a place.MY RECOMMENDATION DEFINITELY PICK THIS ONE UP. And then cry with me.
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    Interest Level: 5-8If you were in a home with an abusive father, what lengths would you go to to protect yourself and your little sister? This is the situation that Viji and her younger sister, Rukku, are facing. Viji makes a decision one night to gather some of their things and run away to the city to escape the abuse. Viji doesn't know what to expect living on their own but it is far worse than she ever imagined. Another issue facing them is that Rukku has a developmental disability which make Interest Level: 5-8If you were in a home with an abusive father, what lengths would you go to to protect yourself and your little sister? This is the situation that Viji and her younger sister, Rukku, are facing. Viji makes a decision one night to gather some of their things and run away to the city to escape the abuse. Viji doesn't know what to expect living on their own but it is far worse than she ever imagined. Another issue facing them is that Rukku has a developmental disability which makes her extremely accepting of strangers, which is dangerous when you are living on the streets. When they find shelter under a bridge they meet Muthi and Arul, two boys in a similar situation as them. The boys teach Viji how to earn money by digging through the local trash dump to sell glass, tin, and cardboard. The money is barely enough to buy food so they are hungry most of the time. To make things worse, their home is exposed and they have to flee and seek shelter in a graveyard. The problem is, it is the rainy season and the mosquitoes are abundant. When Muthi and Rukku become ill will Viji and Arul risk everything to get them medical help? All of these "siblings" have faced some horrible adults in their lifetime. Can they trust any of them now? Read this book to find out the fate of these four children who have become a family.I'm not going to lie when I say this book made me ugly cry so many times. The love between these two sisters and the love between these four friends was so endearing (not to mention the love between all four of them and a dog). This book really makes you stop and think about yourself and if you have the love for someone else that you would risk everything for. Also, despite Viji's dire circumstances, she never gives up her dream of one day becoming a teacher. She shows the reader that no matter what hardships you are going through, never quit dreaming!! I literally have goosebumps just writing this review. Please, please, please do not miss this amazingly incredible book about family, friendship, undying love, and never losing hope despite all the odds.Follow me:Blog - Blazer Tales - https://blazertales.com/Facebook - Laurie’s Library Place - https://www.facebook.com/LauriesLibra...Instagram - laurieslibrary - https://www.instagram.com/laurieslibr...Twitter - @laurieevans27 https://twitter.com/laurieevans27?lan...Goodreads - Laurie Purser - https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1...Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/auburngirl2...YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCulD...
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  • Julie Kirchner
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book from Nancy Paulsen and I am so glad I did! It is amazing!When Viji realizes her mother is not going to do anything to get away from her abusive father, even after he starts hurting Viji and her learning disabled sister Ruku, Viji decides they would be better off running away and living off the streets in the city. She leaves with few possessions and very little money not aware of the dangers and struggles that face them. The girls find two I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book from Nancy Paulsen and I am so glad I did! It is amazing!When Viji realizes her mother is not going to do anything to get away from her abusive father, even after he starts hurting Viji and her learning disabled sister Ruku, Viji decides they would be better off running away and living off the streets in the city. She leaves with few possessions and very little money not aware of the dangers and struggles that face them. The girls find two street boys who help them find shelter, food and a way to survive. The four become instant friends and eventually grow to be family. They spend their days searching through trash piles for treasure to be sold for rupees, only to be taken advantage of and treated by some as worse than the trash they sort through each day. When the rainy season descends, so does illness and they are forced to make tough decisions about what they must do and who they can trust for help. This book is Padma Venkatraman’s first middle grade novel. She has done a fantastic job writing for this age group and I am elated to have this book available for my middle grade readers. This book comes out in February 2019. A definite pre-order!
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  • Laura Gardner
    January 1, 1970
    “We were in plain sight. But we were invisible.".〰〰🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 for THE BRIDGE HOME by #padmavenkatraman, which I received in exchange for an honest review and to share with #kidlitexchange. I'm so grateful to get my hands on this book early because I've been hearing such amazing things about #thebridgehome, which is ultimately about the vulnerability, but also the resilience of children. In addition to being beautifully written and about an important subject matter that will offer a window into the “We were in plain sight. But we were invisible.".〰️〰️🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 for THE BRIDGE HOME by #padmavenkatraman, which I received in exchange for an honest review and to share with #kidlitexchange. I'm so grateful to get my hands on this book early because I've been hearing such amazing things about #thebridgehome, which is ultimately about the vulnerability, but also the resilience of children. In addition to being beautifully written and about an important subject matter that will offer a window into the world of homelessness in India, this book is impossible to put down. .〰️〰️I loved how it was written in second person as a letter from Viji to her beloved, disabled sister Rukku. I loved how Viji, Rukku, Muthi and Arul made their own beautiful family and looked out for one another.I loved seeing Rukku grow and change as she was finally given the opportunity to contribute her own special gifts to her family. .〰️〰️How can such a slim novel pack so much power? I will be thinking about this one for a long time.Issues addressed include abusive relationships, child labor, modern slavery, disability, poverty and homelessness. .〰️〰️I plan to read this one aloud in my lunch bunch next spring and I anticipate kids are going to love it. The Bridge Home is an absolute must-buy for all elementary and middle school libraries. Don't miss it!.〰️〰️#librariansofinstagram #librariesofinstagram #bookstagram #thebridgehome #bookquotes #bookreview #mgbooks #mglit
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  • Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    Before I can write this review, I have to mop up the puddle that is me. Not sure I have cried as much in a while as reading Padma Venkatraman’s new novel today. Yes, today, one day. Could not put down.The novel is written as a letter by Viji to her younger sister. Viji and Rukku, who has a mental disability, run away from their physically abusive father when their mother forgives him time after time. Viji says, “Our togetherness was one of the few things I had faith in.” (2) Homeless, they join Before I can write this review, I have to mop up the puddle that is me. Not sure I have cried as much in a while as reading Padma Venkatraman’s new novel today. Yes, today, one day. Could not put down.The novel is written as a letter by Viji to her younger sister. Viji and Rukku, who has a mental disability, run away from their physically abusive father when their mother forgives him time after time. Viji says, “Our togetherness was one of the few things I had faith in.” (2) Homeless, they join two boys, Muthu and Arul who live on a bridge, and the four of them become a family. They live day-to-day, picking through trash to sell recyclable materials, refusing to become beggars. Arul notices that Rukku can do more than Viji thinks and gives her small responsibilities, letting her feel valued. “…he’d seen something in you that I hadn’t bothered to notice.” (64) In fact, Rukku sells the bead necklaces she has been making for more money than they have had so far. After they lose their “home,” they move to a graveyard infested with mosquitoes and Rukku and Muthu become ill. Viji decides to trust and seek help from Celina Aunty, a woman who runs a home for working children, but Rukku dies, and Viji blames herself. It takes time, but Celina Aunty convinces her that even if she has no faith in religion, she should learn to “have faith in the goodness within yourself.” (161) When Arul tells her, “Start giving thanks for what you do have.… You’re here in this home with a chance to do something more with your life. You have Celina Aunty. You have me. You have Muthu. Most of all, you have yourself.” (164)Writing to her sister, Viji travels back, but she also can now move forward, imaging herself as the teacher she always wanted to be with new friends and her family, Arul and Muthu.
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  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    This moved so quickly that I got to the end and wanted just a bit more. It focuses on two sisters, one with a developmental disability and the other who decides to take charge of their fate with an abusive/alcoholic father who routinely beats their mother. She takes the sister and they embark on a journey that's a fictionalized companion to Sungju Lee's Every Falling Star set in another country. There are a band of others they meet in the same desperate poverty-stricken, and caste-enforced situa This moved so quickly that I got to the end and wanted just a bit more. It focuses on two sisters, one with a developmental disability and the other who decides to take charge of their fate with an abusive/alcoholic father who routinely beats their mother. She takes the sister and they embark on a journey that's a fictionalized companion to Sungju Lee's Every Falling Star set in another country. There are a band of others they meet in the same desperate poverty-stricken, and caste-enforced situation and then there's a dog. It's not a super-positive story but it does talk about the redemptive power of love even in tragedy and how sticking to your guts will get you farther than caving in. Sentimental and lovely albeit short.
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  • Michele Knott
    January 1, 1970
    All I needed was one solid sitting to devour this book. A book where the characters stick with you long after you close the pages, and one that opens your heart to looking and learning.
  • Colby Sharp
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing book. Heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.Adding it to my list of awesome 2019 books. https://www.mrcolbysharp.com/2019/
  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusWhen Viji's mother does nothing to protect herself from the abusive behavior of Viji's father, the desperate girl decides to take her sister Ruuku and run away to the city. Ruuku is developmentally disabled, but Viji feels that anything has to be better than their home situation. They make it to the city and are lucky to find some friendly help, including a woman whose husband runs a restaurant who gives them a little work, food, and beads for Ruuku. They also mee E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusWhen Viji's mother does nothing to protect herself from the abusive behavior of Viji's father, the desperate girl decides to take her sister Ruuku and run away to the city. Ruuku is developmentally disabled, but Viji feels that anything has to be better than their home situation. They make it to the city and are lucky to find some friendly help, including a woman whose husband runs a restaurant who gives them a little work, food, and beads for Ruuku. They also meet fellow street children, Arul and Muthi, who show them the ropes and make a home with them on a bridge, using tarps and mats. The boys show them how to make money by going through the garbage and selling metal and glass, and generally help them survive in their new reality. Arul is a Christian, and his entire family was lost in tsunami type accident, and Muthu has his own sad back story that makes him wary of people. Even after the rag man destroys their bridge home, they gather their forces and live in a cemetery. Eventually, however, the rainy season brings mosquitoes that cause fever in the children, and Viji is forced to accept help from a local children's charity. She is reunited with her father, but chooses to stay in the children's home, where she has been able to put together a life that includes more education than she would have gotten otherwise.Strengths: I am always happy to see books about how children live in other countries, and Venkatraman has based this on her own mother's work with disadvantaged children in India, as well as on many interviews. The details of what is needed to survive are tremendously appealing to young readers. Think of The Box Car Children or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I read for the details like washing the dishes in the creek with sand or going to the store for just one potato. This is a great book to hand to readers who love Cruz's Everlasting Nora or Yang's Front Desk. While I loved this author's A Time to Dance and Climbing the Stairs, novels in verse and historical fiction don't do all that well in my library-- this hits the popular features of problem novels just right and will circulate a lot.Weaknesses: I have had a small number of students of Indian descent in my school over the years, and their background is far more like Varadarajan's Ravi in Save Me a Seat. I'd like to see books set in India about children who go to school and have a slightly more secure home life. What I really think: Can't wait to hand this to students. Enjoyed it very much myself!
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  • Michelle Leonard
    January 1, 1970
    Eleven-year-old Viji and her younger sister Rukku quickly discover how vulnerable they are when they run away from their abusive father and try to make a home for themselves in the streets of Chennai, India. The sisters find friendship in two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, and share an abandon bridge with them for shelter. Viji is a great storyteller, and though they must spend their days scavenging through discards for food and trash to turn into recycling treasure, they imagine themselves a ve Eleven-year-old Viji and her younger sister Rukku quickly discover how vulnerable they are when they run away from their abusive father and try to make a home for themselves in the streets of Chennai, India. The sisters find friendship in two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, and share an abandon bridge with them for shelter. Viji is a great storyteller, and though they must spend their days scavenging through discards for food and trash to turn into recycling treasure, they imagine themselves a very good life indeed, especially since they no longer have to rely on untrustworthy adults. But then illness strikes, and Rukku and Muthi are both dangerously sick. Viji must decide if she is willing to risk sacrificing their hard-fought independence by seeking help from adults.THE BRIDGE HOME was like a magnet in my hand. I couldn’t put it down; I read with urgency, caring for the children and delighting in the fullness of their lives and their friendship. Though they were living in the most extreme of poverty, the richness of their close, deeply-loving companionship and ability to confront difficulties shone brilliantly through the story. It’s nothing short of a miracle that the author described the caste system, child labor, and homelessness, yet reading the story seems luminous and extravagant. The writing is beautiful, the storytelling is masterful, rich with characters that became friends, a vivid and sensory-filled setting, and a deeply-satisfying plot that became an unforgettable experience. This story devoured my heart whole.THE BRIDGE HOME is Padma Venkatraman’s MG debut, and I hope she has many more stories like this to share with young readers. The story makes for an excellent classroom read for those 10+. For sensitive readers, THE BRIDGE HOME would make a good read-together book so that the tough problems that are so stirring to the heart can be discussed with a sympathetic ear. Thank you to #KidlitExchange and Penguin Kids for providing me with a review copy. All opinions are my own.
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  • Emily (emilykatereads)
    January 1, 1970
    "Our togetherness was one of the few things I had faith in." This book will break your heart. It's a story about sisters, family, and being a homeless child on the streets of India. The story is written as a letter from Viji to Rukku, and tells of their experience running away from their abusive father at home to surviving on the streets. Viji takes on the responsibility of caring for Rukku as well, as she has a disability, while also befriending two other homeless boys. The story is told in a "Our togetherness was one of the few things I had faith in." This book will break your heart. It's a story about sisters, family, and being a homeless child on the streets of India. The story is written as a letter from Viji to Rukku, and tells of their experience running away from their abusive father at home to surviving on the streets. Viji takes on the responsibility of caring for Rukku as well, as she has a disability, while also befriending two other homeless boys. The story is told in a straight-forward way, and it doesn't sugarcoat anything. I applaud Venkatraman for the harsh realities shown in this middle-grade novel. She also does a wonderful job at introducing reader's to a new culture. The book starts off with a glossary to help readers unfamiliar with them. The characters are well-developed and you feel for them in their situations. Each character has their own personal struggle brought to the table. You really feel for the characters, which makes the story and depressing elements of this book so much more impactful. This has become one of my favourite middle-grade books now. The writing style is beautiful and clear for young readers, but it carries so much weight in such a short book. And despite how harsh and depressing most of this book it. The story is, ultimately, a story of hope.*arc provided by the publisher for an honest review*Review can also be found on my blog!
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Long after you finish The Bridge Home, the story of Viji and Ruku and the two boys they meet, Muthi and Arul, will stay in your heart.Viji and her disabled sister, Ruku, run away from home to escape the abuse of their father. They find an abandoned bridge for shelter and there they make friends with two homeless boys. Together the four face the dangers and struggles of being on the streets in India. To make money, they scavenge through garbage dumps and sell bead necklaces that Ruku makes. They Long after you finish The Bridge Home, the story of Viji and Ruku and the two boys they meet, Muthi and Arul, will stay in your heart.Viji and her disabled sister, Ruku, run away from home to escape the abuse of their father. They find an abandoned bridge for shelter and there they make friends with two homeless boys. Together the four face the dangers and struggles of being on the streets in India. To make money, they scavenge through garbage dumps and sell bead necklaces that Ruku makes. They are able to survive on their own, but when two of the children get ill they have to make decisions about who they can trust to help them.This is a story that highlights the determination and resiliency of four children trying to survive in a world that has proven to be unfair and cruel. The bond between the sisters and the two boys is touching as they grow from strangers into a family. The book also explores loss and grief and conveys hope for moving on when sadness and despair threaten to overcome one's emotions.The children in this story face a struggle that for many middle grade readers will be unimaginable. For this reason, this is a powerful book to share with them. It will provide insight into the diverse experiences of children throughout our world. A heart-tugger of a book, the courage and strength of the children in this book is an inspiration.
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  • Jessica Rempel (one.book.at.a.time)
    January 1, 1970
    Firstly, I wanted to thank Penguin Kids and Penguin Random House Canada for sending me an ARC in exchange for my honest review!This was an absolutely beautiful story ❤ The Bridge Home tells the story of Viji and her sister after they run away from home and now have to survive together on the streets of India. Much of the beauty of this story comes from the perspective, as it is told as a letter from Viji to her sister. Viji's love for her is tangible, which enhances this book's heartwarming and Firstly, I wanted to thank Penguin Kids and Penguin Random House Canada for sending me an ARC in exchange for my honest review!This was an absolutely beautiful story ❤️ The Bridge Home tells the story of Viji and her sister after they run away from home and now have to survive together on the streets of India. Much of the beauty of this story comes from the perspective, as it is told as a letter from Viji to her sister. Viji's love for her is tangible, which enhances this book's heartwarming and heartbreaking qualities.Padma uses language that is gorgeous and descriptive, which brings the characters and setting of her book to life! You can smell the rotten garbage and the spicy biryani and hear the fireworks of Diwali and the buzzing of mosquitos. Her use of language also makes it easier for younger audiences to relate to and understand ~ appropriate for the middle grade audience this was written for.As a future teacher, I plan on using this book in my classroom to open the conversation about inequity and inequality, and open their eyes to the realities of poverty and homelessness. I also loved learning the about the culture and language of India!I definitely would recommend this little middle grade book with a big heart!
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  • Katie Reilley
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an advanced copy of this book to read through my #bookexpedition group. The Bridge Home tells the story of four homeless children living in the streets of Chennai, India. Viji and her sister Rukku have run away from an abusive home to the harsh city streets, looking for ways to make money to earn food and shelter. The girls find help through friendship with two boys named Muthi and Arul, and together they make a small living scavenging the city’s garbage heaps. Though their lives are I was given an advanced copy of this book to read through my #bookexpedition group. The Bridge Home tells the story of four homeless children living in the streets of Chennai, India. Viji and her sister Rukku have run away from an abusive home to the harsh city streets, looking for ways to make money to earn food and shelter. The girls find help through friendship with two boys named Muthi and Arul, and together they make a small living scavenging the city’s garbage heaps. Though their lives are extremely difficult, dealing with constant hunger and untrustworthy adults, this group of four bands together and forms a family of their own. When rainy season & mosquitos descend on their makeshift shelter, illness quickly falls upon two of the children. The remaining two must decide if seeking help is worth their hard-fought freedom from the horrible adults they’ve encountered in the past. Additional material includes a glossary in the front of the novel and author’s note following the story. Coming in February of 2019, this will be a pre-order addition to my middle grade classroom library.
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  • Susie
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Edelweiss+ for the advanced copy of this wonderful book. I had heard rave reviews about it, and when I learned that Venkatraman would be attending a YA book event in Indianapolis in a few weeks, I just had to read it! While the opening of the book creates a sense of foreboding, the four main characters create a strong group built upon their differences. Some of my favorite lines include:*What else had I, who'd known and loved you so long, missed, that he'd discovered after knowing y Thank you to Edelweiss+ for the advanced copy of this wonderful book. I had heard rave reviews about it, and when I learned that Venkatraman would be attending a YA book event in Indianapolis in a few weeks, I just had to read it! While the opening of the book creates a sense of foreboding, the four main characters create a strong group built upon their differences. Some of my favorite lines include:*What else had I, who'd known and loved you so long, missed, that he'd discovered after knowing you less than a week?*And I realized that by holding on to his beliefs, he was holding on to his family.*I don't mind if you have no faith in religion, Viji. Just as long as you have faith in the goodness within yourself.Venkatraman has written a book that will be accessible to a wide range of students, realistically portraying a situation that few readers may understand. I think when students read the author's note, they will be even more empathetic, will want to know more, and may even be spurred to do something to help children in need, including those with disabilities.
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  • Mandy Stallard
    January 1, 1970
    The cover of this book is stunning, but the words inside will captivate your heart. I'm struggling to find the best words to describe this book. Each time I type a few lines, I realize they don't do the story justice, so I just delete them. Instead of trying to summarize the story, let me just say why I love it. I love books that show the world as it truly is, even when the truth is ugly and hard to swallow. I want my own children and the students I teach to appreciate every gift they are given; The cover of this book is stunning, but the words inside will captivate your heart. I'm struggling to find the best words to describe this book. Each time I type a few lines, I realize they don't do the story justice, so I just delete them. Instead of trying to summarize the story, let me just say why I love it. I love books that show the world as it truly is, even when the truth is ugly and hard to swallow. I want my own children and the students I teach to appreciate every gift they are given; sometimes those gifts are as simple as being born in the United States. The only way to appreciate the things we often take for granted is to see into the lives of others. Children who are suffering in abusive homes or living in poverty will read this book and realize they aren't alone. They may even feel like they are doing well compared to the suffering the four homeless children in the book endure. My hope is that students will read this book and feel hopeful for their future. Despite all that Viji loses, she still finds a way to hope that she can create a better life for herself.
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  • Darla
    January 1, 1970
    This story will both break your heart and fill you with hope. Viji (our narrator) and her mentally challenged sister Ruku are in an abusive home. When their appa turns on them, Viji packs up for both of them and they take a bus to the city. Throughout the book, Viji is writing recounting their story for Ruku. They are fortunate to befriend two homeless boys about their age and find temporary shelter and find ways to make money for food. They manage on their own until Ruku gets to sick for them t This story will both break your heart and fill you with hope. Viji (our narrator) and her mentally challenged sister Ruku are in an abusive home. When their appa turns on them, Viji packs up for both of them and they take a bus to the city. Throughout the book, Viji is writing recounting their story for Ruku. They are fortunate to befriend two homeless boys about their age and find temporary shelter and find ways to make money for food. They manage on their own until Ruku gets to sick for them to help her on their own. A faith in God is shown as a lifeline by many characters in this book although Viji finds herself unable to trust in a Heavenly Father when her earthly father was such a disappointment. Overall an uplifting and enlightening story which will remind many of the blessings they have in their lives.A big thank you to Nancy Paulsen Books and Edelweiss for a digital ARC of this book.
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  • What's a Kid to Read
    January 1, 1970
    Two young kids, little girls who should be playing and laughing and happy, have to run away from home for their safety. I don't know what's worse, the fact that they have to do that or the fact that other adults who find them only want to hurt them more. On their journey through the city, homeless without money or food, they happen on two other kids. Two young boys how have been navigating homeless life in Chennai, India agree (apprehensively) to allow the two of them to set up "home" with them. Two young kids, little girls who should be playing and laughing and happy, have to run away from home for their safety. I don't know what's worse, the fact that they have to do that or the fact that other adults who find them only want to hurt them more. On their journey through the city, homeless without money or food, they happen on two other kids. Two young boys how have been navigating homeless life in Chennai, India agree (apprehensively) to allow the two of them to set up "home" with them. They show them how to dig through mounds of trash to make money from terrible men, and help them find a way to smile and laugh. Padma Venkatraman tells of their journey such a powerful and evocative way you will be rooting for these kids and the family bond they've created each step of the way. I loved this book. It is hard to read emotionally, but so real, raw, and heart-wrenching I am so, so glad I did.
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  • Sandy O'Brien
    January 1, 1970
    “I saw more people that day than I’d seen our whole lives. But nobody noticed us.We were in plain sight.But we were invisible.”•Viji takes her sister and runs away from home to save them from the abuse of their father.While this may seem like a good idea, they are faced with the struggle of having to live in the streets.Digging through trash piles to find recyclables to sell for food.Sleeping under a bridge with a tarp as their shelter.Running from the danger of ruthless men who have ill intenti “I saw more people that day than I’d seen our whole lives. But nobody noticed us.We were in plain sight.But we were invisible.”•Viji takes her sister and runs away from home to save them from the abuse of their father.While this may seem like a good idea, they are faced with the struggle of having to live in the streets.Digging through trash piles to find recyclables to sell for food.Sleeping under a bridge with a tarp as their shelter.Running from the danger of ruthless men who have ill intentions towards them.Dealing with sickness that could be life-threatening. •Their journey is full of struggles, hope, and life-changing moments that are based on first-hand accounts from children who have gone through this trauma. You will be rooting for Viji to become everything she wants and deserves!{Out February 5th}
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  • Devon H
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely adored this heartbreaking yet hopeful middle grade novel. Viji and Rukku, two young sisters, run away from an abusive home and find their way living on the streets of Chennai, one of the big cities in India. Rukku, with her developmental disability, is often more trusting of people, and can be particular in what she is willing to do. Viji is willing to do almost anything, besides disrespect herself or her sister, to get by. She winds up with a couple of young boys, and they form a p I absolutely adored this heartbreaking yet hopeful middle grade novel. Viji and Rukku, two young sisters, run away from an abusive home and find their way living on the streets of Chennai, one of the big cities in India. Rukku, with her developmental disability, is often more trusting of people, and can be particular in what she is willing to do. Viji is willing to do almost anything, besides disrespect herself or her sister, to get by. She winds up with a couple of young boys, and they form a protective and supportive group. Together they adopt a dog, find ways to make money, and create unbreakable bonds of love and friendship. This novel did me in with how heartbreaking it was. I read Venkatraman's note at the end, looking for information on how she was able to tell such a beautiful and devastating story. Venkatraman said she based the story on some of her own experiences and the experiences of people she knows, which makes this book all the more special for sharing a glimpse of what it might be like to be a homeless kid on the streets in India. There is a lot of adventure in the short pages of this book, as they meet different people, some good, some bad, and find places where they can exist outside the bounds of typical society. There are a lot of images and sensory descriptions of their journey, which I believe was all the more important in sharing Viji and Rukku's experience accurately. Venkatraman gave meaning to their lives where some may not have found any. I felt a strong connection with all of the characters, and felt as though they were all friends of mine in the end. The scenes with their dog Kutti made me particularly sad (don't worry, he doesn't die in the end!), as I have always had such a strong connection with my own dogs. The way they all care so passionately for each other was such a beautiful part of this story. I received this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jennybeast
    January 1, 1970
    This is a strong piece of work about homeless children, specifically in India. I don't know if my ARC was missing some chapters at the beginning (I have an older kindle, so this is possible) or if that part of the book is still in development. What I read was moving, heart-rending, well paced. The bonds between the street kids and the sisters were both very powerfully represented. The indifference and cruelty of many of the adults was striking. I hope this book will become an advocate piece that This is a strong piece of work about homeless children, specifically in India. I don't know if my ARC was missing some chapters at the beginning (I have an older kindle, so this is possible) or if that part of the book is still in development. What I read was moving, heart-rending, well paced. The bonds between the street kids and the sisters were both very powerfully represented. The indifference and cruelty of many of the adults was striking. I hope this book will become an advocate piece that changes the world for the better. This an author to watch. Book based on true accounts. Advanced Reader's Copy provided by Edelweiss.
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  • Michelle Simpson
    January 1, 1970
    I hardly put this one down from the moment I started reading, finishing it in one afternoon. It is the story of a young girl in India who sneaks away with her younger sister from her home to escape the abuse of her father. They travel to a city with no idea how or where they will live. They face so many challenges but are thankful to befriend two boys who become like brothers. The four work together to survive until frightening circumstances lead them to seek help from others. The book confronts I hardly put this one down from the moment I started reading, finishing it in one afternoon. It is the story of a young girl in India who sneaks away with her younger sister from her home to escape the abuse of her father. They travel to a city with no idea how or where they will live. They face so many challenges but are thankful to befriend two boys who become like brothers. The four work together to survive until frightening circumstances lead them to seek help from others. The book confronts issues including child labor, disabilities, religion, and trust.Early digital copy received from Edelweiss.
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  • Karen Reed
    January 1, 1970
    Touching children's literature about homeless children in India. Padma isa natural storyteller. She keeps the story simple for children but still interesting and fast paced enough for this adult reader. I imagine that children (ages 10 & up) will be captivated with Viji's narration and her strong voice. All four characters are very likeable and you will root for them. There is heartbreak however so some more sensitive children may be distraught so parents would be wise to take that into cons Touching children's literature about homeless children in India. Padma isa natural storyteller. She keeps the story simple for children but still interesting and fast paced enough for this adult reader. I imagine that children (ages 10 & up) will be captivated with Viji's narration and her strong voice. All four characters are very likeable and you will root for them. There is heartbreak however so some more sensitive children may be distraught so parents would be wise to take that into consideration. However, I have to say our children are also stronger and more aware of the world than we may realize.
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  • Kristin Crouch
    January 1, 1970
    Viji and Rukku flee an abusive father into the streets of Indian slums. A dangerous enough endeavor, compounded by Rukku's innocence (and disability). In their travels, they meet Arul and Mathu, and these four create their own beautiful family, complete with a stray dog they all cherish. While living on the streets they are free to roam, work, explore, and strive for a better position in life. Beautifully written, this book filled me with despair and hope, heartbreak and healing, love and sadnes Viji and Rukku flee an abusive father into the streets of Indian slums. A dangerous enough endeavor, compounded by Rukku's innocence (and disability). In their travels, they meet Arul and Mathu, and these four create their own beautiful family, complete with a stray dog they all cherish. While living on the streets they are free to roam, work, explore, and strive for a better position in life. Beautifully written, this book filled me with despair and hope, heartbreak and healing, love and sadness.The Bridge Home is a book to be appreciated for every emotion it elicits. Highly recommended for grades 5 and up.
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  • Bailey Frederking
    January 1, 1970
    I am so excited for this book to be on bookshelves in February and even more so, for it to be a part of my classroom bookshelf. This is a middle-grades book that will break your heart through the ways in which it is a window to the reality of homelessness and domestic violence. Venkatraman beautifully tackles writing a book that's content is heavy and intense yet, accessible and appropriate for middle grades students. A little warning though, tears may be a part of the journey of reading this st I am so excited for this book to be on bookshelves in February and even more so, for it to be a part of my classroom bookshelf. This is a middle-grades book that will break your heart through the ways in which it is a window to the reality of homelessness and domestic violence. Venkatraman beautifully tackles writing a book that's content is heavy and intense yet, accessible and appropriate for middle grades students. A little warning though, tears may be a part of the journey of reading this story.
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  • Kathy Iwanicki
    January 1, 1970
    This book was amazing. The main characters are runaways in India. This story follows their trials and tribulations as they attempt to survive in a harsh world. I love book that get kids thinking about problems that exist in the world. This one definitely will. The author’s note at the end educated me! This is a book that will not leave my brain quickly. I will be pondering this for a while.
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