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The Bridge Home

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  3,296 ratings  ·  747 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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Average rating 4.32  · 
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 ·  3,296 ratings  ·  747 reviews

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Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Read this a few months ago. Not that memorable. Somehow too whimsical for a middle grade contemporary read. Did not work for me. Yes, there are good and sad moments but it's a little unrealistic.
Janice Boychuk
What a thoughtful and engaging book; it was sad yet uplifting at the same time. I didn't notice that it was slotted as a middle grade/children's book until I was finished it, but honestly, this is a wonderful book for any age.

The story revolves around four pre-teen children trying to survive in the city of Chennai in India. They are victims of abuse, neglect and tragedy. Although their stories and how they came to this point are very different, there is a connection, forming a familial bond.
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.
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
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
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.
Laura Harrison
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Read this gorgeous book twice this year.
Julie Kirchner
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
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
Book Hunter
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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 ...more
Mary Lee
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Miller Mi
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
After finish reading this book, I understood more about how hard is life. Viji had to earn money to make sure she and her sister and "brothers" have food to eat. I feel very sorry for Viji and Rukku, especially Rukku. The world is unfair, when we are studying in fine classrooms, Viji and Rukku had to work to survive. I was shocked when I read to the part Rukku died. She died because she didn't have money to go to the hospital, and it was raining all week. I hope someday in the future, fewer and ...more
Destinee Sutton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Phil Jensen
Jul 06, 2019 marked it as notes-on-unfinished-books
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
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Watch my detailed video reviewofThe Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman:

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
Elly Swartz
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman is a tug-at-your-heart story of friendship, resilience, and survival. It highlights the unbearable choices we sometimes must make to protect those we care about the most. And weaves the realities of homelessness, fear, and despair, with the love that finds us in the most unsuspecting and extraordinary places. Padma's masterful storytelling shines in The Bridge Home. Highly recommend!
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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!
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
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."
☼♎ 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.
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!
Ms. B
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, Viji and Rukku runaway from their abusive home in Chennai, India. Will life on the streets be any safer than the life they left? Will they survive? Can they find a new home together? This is a story about finding friends, resiliency and discovering one's purpose. There is a fair amount of discussion between characters (view spoiler) ...more
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 ...more
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.
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
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tweener-lit
Read for an author visit. I'm afraid this is the title that has made me swear off sad books. I officially can't handle them anymore. Both children and a dog are in peril. I deeply appreciated Venkatraman's level of detail and love and knowledge of her characters. She also never succumbs to saccharine. My sixth graders adored this book, but it's because they haven't had any great tragedy in their lives so far (that I know of) so it's all academic. Very affecting and brimming with award potential.
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
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2019 Mock Newbery Discussion BS 1 5 Nov 18, 2019 03:18PM  

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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
“I don't know how you live without dreams" -Viji” 3 likes
“I paused, thinking of all the wonderful things she'd said - about my imagination and how smart I was - and how she'd encouraged us both. I realized the biggest gift she'd given me wasn't the book - it was something else.

She believed in me and Rukku" -Viji”
More quotes…