An undreamed of birthday present: Parents Magazine’s love for BORN BEHIND BARS

November is my birthday month – and this year, it came with a wonderful surprise gift. Parents Magazine chose BORN BEHIND BARS as their book-of-the-month!

Previous “Raising the Future” book club titles include She Persisted: Ruby Bridges by Kekla Magoon and Chelsea Clinton; Daddy and Dada by Ryan Brockington and Isaac Webster; I Wish You Knew by Jackie Azua Kramer; Stamped (for kids) by Jason Reynold and Ibram X Kendi; The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz; Simon B Rhymin by Dwayne Reed; Milo Imagines the World by Matt De La Peña; My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World by Malcom Mitchell; Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea by Meena Harris; My Rainbow by DeShanna and Trinity Neal; Class Act by Jerry Craft; I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Antiracist Baby by Ibram X Kendi. As you might imagine I was super thrilled to be in such marvelous company. And I got a chance to converse about BORN BEHIND BARS with superstar teacher Colby Sharp on Parents Magazine’s Ig live.

My first ever Ig live – but Colby made it so much fun, and so very easy. Not enough words to thank him and Parents Magazine for this honor. What’s more, School Library Journal awarded BORN BEHIND BARS a starred review! It’s the 21st time I’ve seen a message saying one of my books received a star, and each time, my eyes fill with tears of thankfulness.

“This novel is for readers who are seeking realistic fiction that tug at the heartstrings. The story is authentic, and the emotion … will induce tears. This is a true window book for many readers unaware of caste systems and the struggles within them. Venkatraman takes these complex topics and makes them heartfelt and resonant.” – SLJ, Starred Review

Another exciting bit of news I didn’t yet share – BORN BEHIND BARS received a marvelous review in the New York Times after I’d posted last month. I was especially thrilled – and touched – that the reviewer echoed my editor Nancy Paulsen’s sentiment (when she first read a draft of BORN BEHIND BARS, she said it had the quality of a fable)!

“confidently stripped down, crystalline style…Borrowing elements of fable” – New York Times Book Review.

Many more author events coming up this month, including a Mackin panel, and 4 events on the first and last days of the NCTE conference.

On Thursday November 18, 2021, I’ll begin with a panel moderated by Becky Calzada, entitled More Than Just Friendships: Allies in Middle Grade Fiction Time: 12:00 AM EST. This is an On Demand Session.

Next, that afternoon, I am thrilled to join Donalyn Miller and others at The Nerdy Book Club: Supporting Equitable, Joyful Reading Communitiesa Roundtable Session, from 1:30 PM EST – 2:45 PM EST. This is a LIVE session.

My next session on Thursday Nov 18 is also live and also a Roundtable Session moderated by Steven Bickmore and it’s called Toe Tag Monologues: Creating Equity and Justice for Adolescents in Crisis through Performance and Young Adult Literature, 3:00 PM EST – 4:15 PM.

Finally, on Sunday November 21, 2021, the last day of the conference, I’ll join JoEllen McCarthy along with other authors, to discuss Unlocking Layers of Justice and Equity Through Children’s Books – this Panel Presentation is a Scheduled session but it’s prerecorded which means, I believe, that we authors will be online for live Q & A.

2 thoughts on “An undreamed of birthday present: Parents Magazine’s love for BORN BEHIND BARS

  1. Hello,
    Our university adult public library here in Mayaguez has closed with the University which is now virtual.
    Since Covid we are stifled of free communication.
    Phone and internet are expensive and unreliable and now banking in many areas on line is not reliable due to cyber attacks around the globe.
    Your career in books is a much needed advantage.
    Congratulations on your achievements and Happy Birthday.
    S.A. Shields

    1. Thank you so much for your warm words. I do hope your situation improves. Wishing you safety and health. Padma

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