The Bridge Home
Written by Padma Venkatraman
Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2019
I read about The Bridge Home at KidLit411. After commenting, I won a classroom Skype visit with Padma Venkatraman. I rushed to the library to borrow this book so I could read it before arranging the Skype visit.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Bridge Home. Tough topics are explored in this story, and those bits were difficult to read. Homelessness, abuse, extreme poverty, gangs, starvation, death. But there were also the important topics of family, friendship, dreams, and hope. This book is perfect for opening discussions about difficult situations faced by children, be it here or in international locations.
What I loved about The Bridge Home:
~ The characters! Each child had such personality, unique and interesting. I love the way the four main characters relied on each other and became a family unit. Four children, living on their own, a family. Think about that for a few moments.
~ Inclusion. Viji’s sister, Rukku, is differently-abled. I love how this younger sister is loved and accepted as she is by the other two members of the new family, Muthi and Arul.
~ Determination. These four friends are determined to make it work, whether living on the bridge over the river beneath tarps or heading to a new location after a scary incident (don’t want to ruin the details here).
~ The descriptions. Just imagine scrounging through huge garbage mountains. GARBAGE. Ick.
~ The writing. Clean, well stated, and easy to follow. This story is a winner.
Thank you, Padma, for showing us new windows on the world.
You can read Padma’s KidLit411 interview here.
Four determined homeless children make a life for themselves in Padma Venkatraman’s stirring middle-grade debut.
Life is harsh in Chennai’s teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter–and friendship–on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city’s trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.