Awards etc.

Born Behind Bars Awards until Dec 15

  • Starred Review Booklist
  • Starred Review Kirkus
  • Starred Review School Library Journal
  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Project LIT choice
  • Kirkus Best Books 2021
  • SLJ Best Books 2021
  • Boston Globe Best Books 2021
  • CSMCL Best Books 2021
  • Travis Jonker and Mr. Schu Reads Top 20 Books of 2021
  • “confidently stripped down, crystalline style” New York Time Book Review
  • “capable of making a grown person cry” Providence Journal
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Reviews, Honors and Awards for Padma Venkatraman’s Books


* Winner, WNDB Walter Dean Myers Award for young readers

* Winner, SCBWI Golden Kite Award for middle grade fiction

* Winner, South Asia Book Award for middle grade books

* Winner, Crystal Kite Award, NESCBWI

* Winner, Paterson Prize for young people

* Winner, Nerdy Book Award

* Global Read Aloud, 2019

* Les Prix des Libraires du Quebec Finalist

* Litterado Prize Finalist

* Sakura Medal Japan Finalist

* Malka Penn Award Honor Book

* Cybil Awards Finalist

* TX Bluebonnet Award Nominee 20-21

* FL Sunshine State Children’s Choice Award Nominee 20-21

* VA Reader’s Choice Award Nominee 20-21

* KY Bluegrass Award Nominee 20-21

* MN Youth Reading Maud Hart Lovelace Award Nominee 20-21

* WSRA Wisconsin State Reading Association Award Nominee 20-21

* GA

* RI Middle School Book Award Nominee

* VT Golden Dome Book Award Nominee

* VT Middle Grade Children’s Book Award Nominee

* ME Student Book Award Nominee

* PA Keystone State Literary Association Book Award Nominee

* NB Book Award Nominee

* SC Book Award Nominee

* ALA Notable Book

* ALSC Notable Audiobook

* Bank Street Best Books 2019

* Notable Book for a Global Society (ILA NGBS)

* Kirkus Best MG Books 2019

* NYPL Best 2019

* Chicago Public Library Best Books 2019

* Booklist Editor’s Choice Best Books 2019

* Washington Post Best Books 2019

* Mighty Girl Best Books 2019

* SLJ Top 10 Audio Books 2019

* Booklist Editor’s Choice Best Audio 2019

* Junior Library Guild audio selection

* Center for the Study of Multicultural Literature (CSMCL) Best Books 2019

* GoodReads Best MG Books 2019

*Audiophile Magazine Earphone Award

* Washington Post KidPost Summer Reading Selection

*  ProjectLIT, 2019-20

* Ebony Teach Best Books 2019

* Betsy Bird’s 31 MG titles in SLJ

* Mighty Girl pick

* Today Show

* National Book Festival Great Reads From Great Places (representing RI)

* “a blisteringly beautiful book” – Starred Review, Kirkus

* “absorbing” – Starred Review, Booklist

* “stellar” – Starred Review, SLJ

* “a story that must be shared.” – Starred Review, SLC

*  “exquisitely narrated” – Starred Review, PW

* “moving” – Sound Commentary, Starred Review

* Venkatraman brings love, support and humor to a story undergirded by tough issues” – SLJ audio, Starred Review

* “beautifully rendered” – SF Chronicle

* “gorgeous storytelling” – NYT Book Review

* “will break hearts and inspire activist longings” – BCCB

* “this bittersweet novel is about breaking the cycle of abuse, reaching for your dreams and finding home ” – Horn Book

* “an amazing book” – Newsday


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“Spiritually uplifting” – Starred review, Booklist

“magnificently strong” – Starred review, VOYA

“exceptional” – Starred Review, SLJ

“beautiful” – Starred Review, Kirkus

“Heart- achingly hopeful and beautifully written.” – Starred Review, BCCB

“powerful depiction of a teen girl struggling to recover from an accident”                           – Chicago Tribune

“Sure to go on my favorites list” – Denver Post

“Loved this book” – Newsday

“dazzles & delights…beautifully written” – Providence Journal

ALA Notable

ALA/YALSA Best Book for Young Adults (BBYA)

Booklist Editor’s Choice Best Book for Young Adults

Booklist Top 10 art book for youth

Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choice

Crystal Kite (New England) Finalist

Center for the study of multicultural literature (CSML) Best Book

Forever literary top 10 character driven books

Eliot Rosewater (IN) masterlist

IBBY Outstanding book for young people with disabilities

Indienext (summer) selection

IRA Notable Book for a Global Society (NBGS)

Julia Ward Howe Boston Authors Club honor book

Kirkus Best Book for Young Adults

Mighty Girl Best Books of the Year

New York Public Library Top 25

New York City Reads (#NYC365)

Nutmeg Award (CT) masterlist

Rebecca Caudill (IL) masterlist

Red dot award winner (3rd place, Singapore children’s choice)

Sequoyah (OK) masterlist

Sanoc/SABA Finalist


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“vivifies a unique era and culture as it movingly expresses how love and hope can blossom even under the most dismal of circumstances” – Starred review, PW

“an intricate and convincing backdrop of a conservative Brahmin home in a time of change”– Starred review, Booklist

“will capture the imaginations of many readers”- Starred review, VOYA

“a compelling story”- Lynda Brill Comerford, Publishers Weekly, “Flying Start”

“Thought-provoking and deeply moving.”- Booksense, Notable Citation

“will appeal to an international audience”- Michelle Reale, India Currents

“ [A] fine, often heart-breaking novel”- Sam Coale, The Providence Sunday Journal

Winner, BAC Julia Ward Howe award

Winner, ASTAL RI Book of the Year award

ALA Best Book for Young Adults (BBYA)

ALA/ Amelia Bloomer List Selection

Bank Street College of Education Best Book

Booklinks Best New Book

Booksense Notable

Booklist Editor’s Choice, BBYA

Capitol Choice

CCBC Choice

Cybil awards finalist

Children’s Literature Network Top 25

NCSS/CBC Notable

NYPL Best Book

Pennsylvania School Library Association (PASLA) Top-40

Publishers Weekly Flying Start

ME Student Book Award Nominee

UT Beehive Book Award Nominee

SC Children’s Book Award Nominee

NJ Garden State Book Award Nominee

Shortlisted for Reading Across Rhode Island


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“enticing blend of mystic tradition & imaginative speculation” – Starred review, PW

“succeeds spectacularly” – Starred review, Booklist

“Vividly written and expertly paced” – SLJ, Starred Review

“consistenly engrosses” – Kirkus, Starred Review

Winner, SANOC/South Asia Book Award

Winner, Paterson Prize


ALA/Amelia Bloomer List Selection

Kirkus Best Book for Young Adults

Booklist Editor’s Choice Best Book for Young Adults

CCBC Best Book

Crystal Kite New England, Finalist

Julia Ward Howe Boston Authors Club, Finalist


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