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The Bridge Home

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Bridge Home

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    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 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!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Colby Sharp

    Amazing book. Heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. Adding it to my list of awesome 2019 books. https://www.mrcolbysharp.com/2019/

  3. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    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 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!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    Wow! What a great book! I listened to the audio version, read by the author. I was so touched. Thank you for bringing the plight of homeless children in India to light.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura Harrison

    In the early to mid 00's there was an influx of depressing children's middle grade readers. I am still traumatized by Cynthia Kadohata's Kira-Kira. How I hope we don't return to that trend in children's literature. Ofcourse The Bridge Home is well written. It is by Padma Venkatraman. Ofcourse the subject matter is important and everyone in the world should be aware of the millions of homeless and abused children in India. I believe it is just too dark for middle grade readers. The volume is slim In the early to mid 00's there was an influx of depressing children's middle grade readers. I am still traumatized by Cynthia Kadohata's Kira-Kira. How I hope we don't return to that trend in children's literature. Ofcourse The Bridge Home is well written. It is by Padma Venkatraman. Ofcourse the subject matter is important and everyone in the world should be aware of the millions of homeless and abused children in India. I believe it is just too dark for middle grade readers. The volume is slim but even if it were 600 pages I think many readers would finish it all in one sitting. Just to relieve the stress and hope for a satisfying ending. Worrying throughout the whole book as to whether the children would be beat, raped, killed...was overwhelming. One of the sisters had developmental issues and the author included a puppy to add to the stress. Does it have a shot as winning the Newbery. Yep, it does. Personally, I hope there will be many other contenders on the horizon.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Book Hunter

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the story of two sisters, one with a developmental disability, who left home because of their abusive father to live on the streets of India. It was a depressing middle grade read. The pacing and writing fell flat for me. The author was very descriptive on street conditions, and then a puppy was included to add more sadness, and one of the characters died at the end. Even though there was a sliver of hope at the end of this story, the whole ordeal just felt sad. The subject matter is This is the story of two sisters, one with a developmental disability, who left home because of their abusive father to live on the streets of India. It was a depressing middle grade read. The pacing and writing fell flat for me. The author was very descriptive on street conditions, and then a puppy was included to add more sadness, and one of the characters died at the end. Even though there was a sliver of hope at the end of this story, the whole ordeal just felt sad. The subject matter is important, but I believe it is just too dark for middle grade readers, and it is not a book that I want to read again.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Remarkablylisa)

    MY RATING: 5/5 STARS I 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 STARS I 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julie Kirchner

    Updated May 6th, 2019: I recently listened to the audio of this book after reading it multiple times and I am SO happy I did. Padma reads the story and it made a perfect book even better. I cannot love this book more. A favorite of 2018 AND 2019. Definitely one that I will recommend for years to come. Such a special book!!! Original review from August 2018: 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 Updated May 6th, 2019: I recently listened to the audio of this book after reading it multiple times and I am SO happy I did. Padma reads the story and it made a perfect book even better. I cannot love this book more. A favorite of 2018 AND 2019. Definitely one that I will recommend for years to come. Such a special book!!! Original review from August 2018: 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!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lee

    Definitely a window into the horrible lives of homeless street children in India. Horrible lives that are also filled with moments of beauty, love, compassion, camaraderie, and freedom. This is a story of two extraordinary sisters and the boys who become like brothers. In spite of the suffering and loss, this is a story filled with hope.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brandy Painter

    I really don't know what to rate this. This is well-written and for such a short, easy read packs quite the emotional wallop. This is a contemporary story of two sisters in India who run away from their abusive father and have to survive on the streets of a big city. They are homeless and spend their days scavenging through trash for anything that might bring a little money. They meet two young boys, and the four children quickly form a family. They will do anything to protect each other. The I really don't know what to rate this. This is well-written and for such a short, easy read packs quite the emotional wallop. This is a contemporary story of two sisters in India who run away from their abusive father and have to survive on the streets of a big city. They are homeless and spend their days scavenging through trash for anything that might bring a little money. They meet two young boys, and the four children quickly form a family. They will do anything to protect each other. The story is told through the point of view of Viji, the younger sister. This might have blown me away, but for one major spoiler. That element that packs the emotional wallop. I think the author had the best of intentions with what she was doing and much of that is done so well. But at the same time I'm...uncomfortable enough with this element to not feel confident in recommending it. I feel she could have gone a different direction and it would have been way less problematic. Upon further reflection, I may need to revisit this, but that is my stance now. I don't think you get cookies for having good intentions but landing in the swamp of problematic tropes anyways. For the curious: (view spoiler)[Viji's sister has some type of intellectual disability. It is hard to determine what type, and it's never really explained. She is definitely neurodiverse enough that she is noticed by everyone as such. And she dies. Her death leads to a lot of plot movement and character growth for her sister, which is why I'm uncomfortable. There is realism, and then there is killing off the person with a disability to make the reader feel things and have the main character learn a Life Lesson™️. That has been done so many time in the name of realism that it is beyond cliché. It is actually downright dangerous. (hide spoiler)]

  11. 4 out of 5

    Phil Jensen

    notes on Chapters 1-7 Very sad things happen to a spunky girl in danger. Much cultural knowledge is imparted to the reader. Venkatraman makes several poorly considered moves. She shoves tragedy in the reader's face before establishing investment in the character. If you're writing about an Asian culture for a Western audience, then orienting the reader with some kind of emotional connection is necessary. That's missing here- it's just a monkeypile of tragedy, kind of like the last 30 pages of a notes on Chapters 1-7 Very sad things happen to a spunky girl in danger. Much cultural knowledge is imparted to the reader. Venkatraman makes several poorly considered moves. She shoves tragedy in the reader's face before establishing investment in the character. If you're writing about an Asian culture for a Western audience, then orienting the reader with some kind of emotional connection is necessary. That's missing here- it's just a monkeypile of tragedy, kind of like the last 30 pages of a Sharon M. Draper novel. The other factor that pushed me away from the book was the overt telling of all character traits. She goes so far out of her way to trash the dad that it's anticlimactic when he starts slapping his kids. We all saw that coming, and pretty much the whole first 30 pages have the same deflated feeling to them. The thing I appreciate the most is putting the glossary before the first chapter. That's a really helpful move, and I wish more authors did it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rajiv

    Watch my detailed video reviewofThe Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman: https://youtu.be/IlySbUfWTw0 This is the first book that I am reading by Padma Venkatraman and I just loved it! It is so inspiring to see the main characters strong and brave and display so much love for one another. You immediately root for them and want to support them and hope that things work out for them. The book is quick to read as it is a middle grade novel and written in a simple manner. However, at the same time, it Watch my detailed video review of The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman: https://youtu.be/IlySbUfWTw0 This is the first book that I am reading by Padma Venkatraman and I just loved it! It is so inspiring to see the main characters strong and brave and display so much love for one another. You immediately root for them and want to support them and hope that things work out for them. The book is quick to read as it is a middle grade novel and written in a simple manner. However, at the same time, it doesn’t shy from the dangers and the harsh conditions of the slums in India, and the evil people who abuse children in one way or another. Overall, "The Bridge Home" is a wonderful novel that is simple yet very profound.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    I LOVED this book! So heartbreaking, but it ended with so much hope. Viji and her sister, Rukku, runaway from their abusive father and live on the streets of India. They meet two brothers who help them to make ends meet in their new life. This book shows the importance of family and resilience,and how one chooses their family in times of crisis. Highly recommend!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Georgia

    I learned a lot from this book and I really liked the characters. However, there were some parts when I felt like I should feel more emotion than I did. Still, I read this in a day and really enjoyed it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tory

    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."

  16. 5 out of 5

    ☼♎ Carmen the Bootyshaker Temptress ☼♎

    What an amazing book. There are so many emotions. These children are strong and brave to go through the struggles that they went through. I loved this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pam Page

    Wow, this book will make quite an impact with children but also adults! I hope to see more from Padma Venkatraman!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Destinee Sutton

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book reminded me strongly of Boys Without Names which is also extremely sad. It also brought to mind Bridge to Terabithia (again, extremely sad, obviously). I read somewhere someone comparing it to the Boxcar Children, which made me think there is sort of a genre of stories about a ragtag group of kids hustling to survive without the benefit of caring adults. A few that come to mind are Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster, Homecoming, Oliver Twist, and The Thief Lord. These range in This book reminded me strongly of Boys Without Names which is also extremely sad. It also brought to mind Bridge to Terabithia (again, extremely sad, obviously). I read somewhere someone comparing it to the Boxcar Children, which made me think there is sort of a genre of stories about a ragtag group of kids hustling to survive without the benefit of caring adults. A few that come to mind are Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster, Homecoming, Oliver Twist, and The Thief Lord. These range in tone from relatively lighthearted to dark and disturbing. Bridge Home has some light moments provided by the almost unbelievably resilient characters, but it's mostly very sad. Anyway, reading this book made me snap at a family member who was complaining about a pretty minor shortcoming of a local middle school. I was like, "Those kids should be grateful they don't have to wade through pools of rotting garbage just to be able to eat." So, yeah, I would say this book may alter many a reader's perspective on life (though that changed perspective often doesn't last very long). The book is written as a letter to the narrator's sister Rukku, who is developmentally disabled in some unnamed way (could be autism, but it's not clear and I'm no expert). There's a line in the beginning where Viji says, "Why should I write to her? It's not like I have her address." That sparked my curiosity. Where is Viji's sister? Why are they not together anymore? This ends up being a bit of a red herring because the sister is not living at some unknown address -- she dies of dengue fever. I think adults will want to prepare younger readers for a very difficult story (again, like Bridge to Terabithia). I once had a parent come into the library super upset because she was reading Terabithia to her kids and didn't know what was coming and they all sobbed and felt emotionally scarred. So bear that in mind. I also had trouble with the choices that Viji has to make. Stay with an abusive parent or run away? What a horrible situation to be in -- made even worse by my feeling as an adult reader that she made the wrong decision. No, Viji, no! You absolutely cannot take care of yourself and your sister on the streets! Runaway books are very hard for parents to read. I thought religious themes were handled really well in this book. Viji runs away from home in part because she doesn't believe she'll be rewarded for being an obedient daughter in the next life. She wants better in this life (oh, Viji! yes but no!). Later she befriends a boy who is devoutly Christian and is helped by a Christian charity. Viji is fiercely reluctant to being recruited and I love what Celina Aunty tells her. She can substitute "good" for "God" in her prayers. She doesn't have to have faith in religion, just faith in the goodness within herself.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    Definitely read the author’s notes in this novel as I felt that they added a great deal to this story. In her notes, Padma discusses some of the many reasons why children become homeless and their status once they’re out on the street. The freedom that these children search for is often not immediate. Out on the street, these children are often met with uncertainty. Discrimination, hunger, poverty, abandonment, and danger on many different levels is often a part of their daily life. There are Definitely read the author’s notes in this novel as I felt that they added a great deal to this story. In her notes, Padma discusses some of the many reasons why children become homeless and their status once they’re out on the street. The freedom that these children search for is often not immediate. Out on the street, these children are often met with uncertainty. Discrimination, hunger, poverty, abandonment, and danger on many different levels is often a part of their daily life. There are millions of homeless children living on the streets in India, Padma states, but this problem is global as you know and she hopes that her novel will bring awareness to them and acceptance. Based on personal stories the author kept in a journal over the years, this novel shows the determination and strength that the children in India have as they search for their own freedom. Determining that it’s not safe living with their abusive father, Viji takes her younger sister, Rukku and they run away. Viji knows it would be hard living on the street, tending to her sister, but didn’t realize it would be this hard. They have no safe place to unwind, to relax, or to breathe easier. Every minute, Viji keeps vigil watch over Rukku, as she tries to find them supplies to keep them going for another day. This task is exhausting yet Viji is not complaining, she’s just waiting for a break. Relief comes when Viji spots an abandoned tarpaulin tent that’s attached to a bridge. When Muthu and Arul claim that the tent is theirs, it’s finally decided that they’ll all share it. Four children and Rukku’s new dog will all stay under the one tarp. I enjoyed how the boys showed the sisters how they made their money and they treated them as equals. The character of Aunty was wonderful and her relationship with the girls, especially Rukku warmed my heart. I loved Viji stories, Rukku talent and how Rukku shared that with the others. The waste mart, I couldn’t get this place off my mind. I will have this imaged etched in my mind for a while. The friendship these four had were what a family is all about. The only issue I had with this novel was that I didn’t have that emotional element to the characters that I felt I should have. A few moments in the novel were emotional left down for me. It should have been more emotional for me yet it wasn’t. A great novel that’s a quick read but gives a lasting impression.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sherry Guice

    A moving real look at homeless children and their plight in India. I think children will be fascinated by the story of these two Indian girls.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Reading is my Escape

    The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman Audience: Middle Grade Format: e-Book/Library copy Talking to you was always easy, Rukku. But writing's hard. - opening sentences This book is written in the form of a letter from Viji to her sister Rukku. In the first couple of chapters, we find out that Viji & Rukku's father is abusive to their mother and mean to Rukku (who is developmentally disabled). But when their father turns his violence on the girls, eleven-year-old Viji decides they have no choice The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman   Audience: Middle Grade Format: e-Book/Library copy     Talking to you was always easy, Rukku. But writing's hard. - opening sentences   This book is written in the form of a letter from Viji to her sister Rukku. In the first couple of chapters, we find out that Viji & Rukku's father is abusive to their mother and mean to Rukku (who is developmentally disabled). But when their father turns his violence on the girls, eleven-year-old Viji decides they have no choice but to run away. She believes it's the only way to protect Rukku from their father. Homeless, Viji & Rukku are alone in a dangerous and uncaring world. Luckily, they find shelter on an abandoned bridge with two young boys and they become a family.   Venkatraman tackles issues of religion, social justice, and the meaning of family as she gives us a glimpse into the heart-wrenching life of India's homeless children. Her writing transported me to the streets of India - it wasn't hard to imagine the smells and the slime of the trash heaps the kids had to wade through. The kids face danger and hardships every day, but amidst their struggle to survive, the four children become a family and find love, support, courage, and hope together.   This is a must-read book that touched my heart, broke it, and put it back together again.    I read this for the Booklikes-opoly Silk Road railroad space. It has 160 pages making it worth $2.00.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Neelam Babul

    A touching and emotional story of sisterhood and family. 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 without them. She needs to protect Ruku and the only person she can trust is herself. She leaves the house with a few possessions and very little money unaware of the dangers and struggles that they might face. The two girls find two A touching and emotional story of sisterhood and family. 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 without them. She needs to protect Ruku and the only person she can trust is herself. She leaves the house with a few possessions and very little money unaware of the dangers and struggles that they might face. The two girls find two street boys who assist them to find shelter, food and a way to survive. The four become instant friends and eventually grow to be a family. They spend their days searching through trash piles for treasure to be sold for a few rupees. Sometimes they are taken advantage of and treated by some 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 is a story of hope, of a better future and unconditional love forged between children who have been dealt with the worst hand of fate yet they are full of life and survive to make a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bethany F

    Set in Chennai, India, this story highlights the powerful and emotional bond between sisters as they endure escaping from their abusive father and take to the streets. Vigi and Rukku runaway from their childhood home as a result of the physical and emotional abuse by the hands of their father and decide that living on the streets will result in a better life. They soon meet up with another group of homeless children, Muthu and Arul as they learn that living on the streets is tough as they Set in Chennai, India, this story highlights the powerful and emotional bond between sisters as they endure escaping from their abusive father and take to the streets. Vigi and Rukku runaway from their childhood home as a result of the physical and emotional abuse by the hands of their father and decide that living on the streets will result in a better life. They soon meet up with another group of homeless children, Muthu and Arul as they learn that living on the streets is tough as they encounter many hardships including hunger, sickness, lack of secure shelter, and even death. Throughout it all, Vigi and her new family never give up hope and continue to persevere, working together to build a life of their own. Written by award winning author Padma Venkatraman, this text can be used in an elementary or middle school setting to highlight the strength, grit, and perseverance of children that experience abuse or other life altering difficulties. The characters in the text display such bravery and love for each other as they learn to survive on the streets as children in a cruel and lonely world. Readers of this text have an amazing opportunity to gain a diverse perspective as they engage with the characters and setting of this unique story of survival.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bulldog

    I started to read this book around the time school ended and never really got around to finish it. But after my mother surprised me and she told that she had loaned this book from the library for me, I jumped up and down because I had been wanting to finish it. Throughout the book, I realized how hard it is for most kids in the world, have to go through. The Bridge Home had many hilarious parts and also many sad ones as well, whenever I read a book I almost always expect it to have a somewhat I started to read this book around the time school ended and never really got around to finish it. But after my mother surprised me and she told that she had loaned this book from the library for me, I jumped up and down because I had been wanting to finish it. Throughout the book, I realized how hard it is for most kids in the world, have to go through. The Bridge Home had many hilarious parts and also many sad ones as well, whenever I read a book I almost always expect it to have a somewhat happy ending, this book ended in a sad way and I got to experience something different which really helped me realize that nothing always turns out to be perfect in the end. Even though this book did end in a sad tone, I learned a lot and experienced different emotions that I don't think I'll experience in most likely any other book (since I tend to read warm, happy, funny types of books). Padma Venkatraman is a wonderful and creative author, this book was definitely one of my favorites. #dragonsread!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Plourde

    POWERFUL . . . that's the word for "The Bridge Home" by Padma Venkatraman. I've heard about children in India who live outside on their own and survive by picking the trash heaps and selling bottles, metal, anything of value to the trash bosses. But understanding that this is REAL in my head is so very different than feeling the reality of these kids in my heart and in my soul. And that's what Venkatraman does brilliantly through Viji, Rukku, Muthu, and Arul's story--I'm with them through the POWERFUL . . . that's the word for "The Bridge Home" by Padma Venkatraman. I've heard about children in India who live outside on their own and survive by picking the trash heaps and selling bottles, metal, anything of value to the trash bosses. But understanding that this is REAL in my head is so very different than feeling the reality of these kids in my heart and in my soul. And that's what Venkatraman does brilliantly through Viji, Rukku, Muthu, and Arul's story--I'm with them through the horror, the heartache, and the hope that they are living. It's a world, a reality, I never want to experience, yet it's a world millions of children are living today, now, in our world. We can't change the world if we don't first understand it--understand it in the gut. "The Bridge Home" is a gut-punch book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenna (Falling Letters)

    Erm. I have mixed feelings about this one right now, so no rating, but I know that Rukku's story line and function in the story does not sit well with me. Viji narrates the story in first person, addressing Rukku (her sister). It's unclear whether Rukku has a disability or is neurodiverse (she seems to be coded to have autism), but (view spoiler)[she dies near the end of the story to fuel Viji's development. There's a lot more going on in this book, and Rukku's death isn't the only or final Erm. I have mixed feelings about this one right now, so no rating, but I know that Rukku's story line and function in the story does not sit well with me. Viji narrates the story in first person, addressing Rukku (her sister). It's unclear whether Rukku has a disability or is neurodiverse (she seems to be coded to have autism), but (view spoiler)[she dies near the end of the story to fuel Viji's development. There's a lot more going on in this book, and Rukku's death isn't the only or final thing that impacts Viji, and the fact that they're young children living on the streets of India gives Rukku's death a different context, but as I said - it's not sitting well with me right now. (hide spoiler)]

  27. 4 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    Fleeing an abusive home situation, sisters Viji and Rukku find themselves living on the streets of Chennai after teaming up with two boys who have been living on the streets awhile. They can eke out a living by combing through the trash dumps for materials they can sell, but Viji never stops dreaming of a better life for them, even if she's not sure how they will accomplish it. This is a heartwrenching story that's rooted in reality - far too many children in our world are living in desperate Fleeing an abusive home situation, sisters Viji and Rukku find themselves living on the streets of Chennai after teaming up with two boys who have been living on the streets awhile. They can eke out a living by combing through the trash dumps for materials they can sell, but Viji never stops dreaming of a better life for them, even if she's not sure how they will accomplish it. This is a heartwrenching story that's rooted in reality - far too many children in our world are living in desperate poverty. Hand this to socially minded kids who want to know more about their world and who can handle some bleak stuff.

  28. 4 out of 5

    ☯keerthi☯

    Rukku and Viji are abused by their father and decide to run away to the amusing city of Chennai, India. There. they meet two boys who are like family to them, and they share a home on a part of a bridge with a loyal dog named Kutti, which means small in Tamil. This book really opened my eyes. In the perspective of the children, I learned how it is like to be homeless and have to work your gluteus maximus off just to get some food. Couldn't put it down, honestly. I read 2/3 of this over a flight, Rukku and Viji are abused by their father and decide to run away to the amusing city of Chennai, India. There. they meet two boys who are like family to them, and they share a home on a part of a bridge with a loyal dog named Kutti, which means small in Tamil. This book really opened my eyes. In the perspective of the children, I learned how it is like to be homeless and have to work your gluteus maximus off just to get some food. Couldn't put it down, honestly. I read 2/3 of this over a flight, and I finished it so quickly. Quick read to crack up your emotional side.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Grissom

    This was a fantastic, beautiful, gripping story of the life of 4 children living in India and the struggles they must face. My heart breaks for these characters and it just makes me want to find a way to help others like them. I am very excited to share this one with students at school. I think it will be a huge hit with many. I hope people who read this will learn to appreciate the lives they live, because no matter how hard some may think they have it, it is no comparison to what these This was a fantastic, beautiful, gripping story of the life of 4 children living in India and the struggles they must face. My heart breaks for these characters and it just makes me want to find a way to help others like them. I am very excited to share this one with students at school. I think it will be a huge hit with many. I hope people who read this will learn to appreciate the lives they live, because no matter how hard some may think they have it, it is no comparison to what these children faced. This book went on my favorites shelf.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    NO WORDS. READ IT NOW!!!

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