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The Bridge Home

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  5,520 ratings  ·  1,072 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 4.31  · 
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 ·  5,520 ratings  ·  1,072 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. The
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a hymne to life propelled by four strong caracters. It is a pleasure to see uplifting books like this. Thank you, Padma. I had a real good time reading this book. Rukku will remain in my heart for a long time.
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 cu
THIS is my ultimate and number one book to give to my children. And also I have troubles writing THIS book, because it's heartbreakingly entrancing.

It has everything I want my children to read : bravery, hardness of life, family and found-family, faith (and questions about it), forgiveness, grief and handling it, disability and diversity awareness, hope, anger, and even a puppy!

Brought as letters to her sister Rukku, the main protagonist named Viji narrated this beautiful but heartbreaking story
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
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.
Read this gorgeous book twice this year.
Book Hunter
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tanja Berg
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A middle grade book about a pair of sisters - one who is mentally set back - who run away from home because of their violent father. It follows their new friendships and their attempts to survive on the streets of India. Sweet, with a bitter undertone. I even teared up a bit at the end.
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
This book stomped on my heart, but in a good way, of that makes any sense! Oh, but I’d only no children in this were homeless or hungry or made to pick through trash and garbage to sell what they could. If only...
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing

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
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 mothe
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
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 st ...more
Lily The BookNerd
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book destroyed me. I had to read it for school and I actually loved it. My teacher had asked me if I could read the whole book this weekend and I said yes. So on Monday, I get to read a different book by this author and I'm so excited. I loved every single character. This book tore me into 11 million pieces. I definitely recommend this book and just be prepared to cry. This is the saddest book I've ever read and I've read a lot of books. I loved this book so much💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖 ...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.
Sometimes the people who have the least can teach us the most.

This would be great for fans of Wonder. Or, if you enjoyed the movie Tigers Are Not Afraid, which I very much did.
Destinee Sutton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: childrens-books
I really wanted to like this book, and I'm frustrated to say how much I didn't like it, and how ashamed I am of starred reviews making yet another mistake with this book, as with Mason Buttle, as with Wonder, as with so many books featuring disabled characters that I don't know why I'm surprised anymore.

This is blurbed and reviewed and marketed and discussed as a short, accessible, heartwarming story of two sisters who run away from their abusive father and become homeless trash pickers, living
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 Sh
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 ha ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Watch my detailed video review of The 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!
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."
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.
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!
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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 4 novels, THE BRIDGE HOME, A TIME TO DANCE, ISLAND’S END and CLIMBING THE STAIRS, were released to multiple starred reviews (2 altogether), and won numerous honors and awards (e.g. WNDB Walter Award 2020; SCBWI Golden Kite Award 202 ...more

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18 likes · 12 comments
“I don't know how you live without dreams" -Viji” 4 likes
“But love doesn't stop him from living and moving forward, because that's how life moves" -Arul” 3 likes
More quotes…