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The Bridge Home

4.67  ·  Rating details ·  148 ratings  ·  63 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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4.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  148 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: february-2019

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
Julie Kirchner
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
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
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
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."
Pam  Page
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book will make quite an impact with children but also adults! I hope to see more from Padma Venkatraman!
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was so good! Padma Venkatraman wrote this so beautifully. I love the way the author perfectly writes the way you feel and think. This is a good read for anyone, but a perfect read who has lost anyone they have ever loved.
Colby Sharp
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, 2019-nerdy
Amazing book. Heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.

Adding it to my list of awesome 2019 books.
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interest Level: 5-8

If 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
Laura Gardner
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“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
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Lynn Plourde
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ho ...more
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
Michele Knott
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.
Reading in the Middle Grades
This book deserves all the love. It needs to be a Global Read Aloud.
I could not finish this book without looking for the statistics on homeless children in the U.S., could not find very recent numbers. In 2014, The National Center on Family Homelessness says 2.5 million children are homeless, half of which are without shelter. And, as is probably known, the experiences are worse in other countries, hence this book by Padma Venkatraman, heart-breaking and hard to imagine. Her author's note tells that she's based this story on experiences and interviews with count ...more
Ms. Yingling
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

When 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
Michelle Leonard
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
After watching their father's abusive behavior toward their mother grow worse and then be directed at them, Viji decides to leave home with her older sister, Rukku, who is developmentally disabled. The girls head to Chennai, a large city in India, where they hope to find work. But life on the streets is incredibly hard, and threats loom at every turn. They find shelter near a bridge and companionship with two other children, Arul and Muthi, and adopt a puppy that they name Kutti. Viji joins the ...more
Emily (emilykatereads)
"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
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Neelam Babul
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 stre
I was totally spellbound by this compassionate and poignant novel. Living in poverty in India is hard, but imagine being Viji whose father abuses her mother and whose older sister Rukku has developmental disabilities. After her father turns his abuse to the girls, Viji knows she must flee to the city to find a better life for herself and Rukku. With almost no money and no plan, they encounter danger and hardship until they find shelter under an abandoned bridge. There they meet Muthi and Arul, t ...more
Jessica Rempel (
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
Katie Reilley
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. Their perspectives even involve different religions in a respectful way.
Some of my favorite lines include:
*What else had I, who'd k
Mandy Stallard
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookposse
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; ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
What's a Kid to Read
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sandy O'Brien
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“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
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American author, Padma Venkatraman, has worked as chief scientist on oceanographic ships and spent time under the sea, directed a school, and lived in 5 countries. Her 3 novels, A TIME TO DANCE, ISLAND’S END and CLIMBING THE STAIRS, were released to multiple starred reviews (12 altogether), and won numerous honors and awards (e.g. ALA, IRA Notable; Booklist, Kirkus, NYPL, Yalsa BBYA; CCBC choice; ...more