#GRA19 #GRABridge Q&A Video #0!

Hi everyone! I just wrote a poem about how grateful I am for the invention of the zero (in an anthology collection entitled ThankU edited by Miranda Paul, which was just released this fall), and so I thought  I’d number my weekly videos with video # 0, below, as it just answers a few very general questions about my writing process. But first, instructions on how to leave me a comment:

So, again, please do your best to leave me questions by Thursday at the latest, but preferably by Wednesday 5:00 p.m. US Eastern Daylight Savings Time, and I’ll do my best to answer as many as I can by 1:00 p.m. on Friday US Eastern Daylight Savings Time. Do remember to add your school name, state, and country in the box below (where it says name) and maybe your class (grade level) as well. In all communication, if you wish to have a reply, please use a personal email address, as school servers admin may otherwise block my replies. I also have ensured that many of the resource links are now easily accessible right on The Bridge Home Resources page of my website. Now, here are answers to the first few general questions I received.

Finally, if you requested a Skype visit, you should be getting a confirmation within the next week or so. My fall Skype calendar is now full, but follow my twitter feed to be alerted to when it opens again in winter for the spring semester (and yes, I’ll be doing some Skype giveaways in spring as well). I will be giving away something unusual – a full 40 minute free Skype visit – to the winner of the contest (judged by Pernille Ripp and her class). Preliminary details in my previous post, and more to follow soon.

Thanks everyone! I’m so GRAteful you’ve chosen to read The Bridge Home!

#GRABridge Contest

Having #TheBridgeHome chosen for the global read aloud means the world to me!

If you haven’t already, please:

  • sign up to follow this website and follow my twitter (or ig / fb) feed to stay updated
  • leave me questions by THURSDAY 5:00 p.m. United States Eastern Standard Time (at the very latest; preferably by Wednesday 5:00 p.m.)
  • you will need to click “recent posts” and then you’ll be redirected to a screen and if you scroll down to the bottom you’ll see a box where you can leave me questions
  • remember to leave your school name, state and country after the question
  • and I’ll do my very best to post weekly videos by Friday afternoon, my time, with answers to as many questions as possible, starting with GENERAL questions (on process or Indian culture etc.) this week.

I’m also thrilled to announce that Pernille Ripp and her class have very kindly volunteered to judge a contest! Details below.


Preliminary Contest Information (more details to come soon):

  1. Create a poster with words and artwork, inspired by a social justice theme addressed in The Bridge Home. You may, for example, address hunger (but it could be hunger in your community, not necessarily in India), or homelessness, or child labor, or domestic violence, or access to education – anything that moves you enough that you’d like to increase awareness of.
  2. Take a photograph of the poster and send it to us (more precise info on how and where to submit will come soon).
  3. Provide us with your name, class (grade level) and school address.
  4. The likely cut off date for submissions will be around 15 October or roughly mid-way through the global read aloud.
  5. The prize will be a free 40 minute Skype visit by the author.

Note that this is the last Skype visit opportunity this fall, and my Skype calendar is now closed for this fall (but will reopen again next spring – so be on the lookout for an announcement on this website and twitter and ig).

Finally, if you are having trouble accessing my files, it is likely that your school’s administrator does not allow it. Sharing is open at my end, and all who click on my links should be able to see the resources I have created.

To prevent unnecessary disappointment, you may have to download the files ahead of time to your device and show them to your students the next day. Many thanks for choosing to read THE BRIDGE HOME! Can’t wait to connect!

20th Star Arrives as we countdown to #GRABridge #GRA19!


So … last Friday, I received my 20th starred review (my 8th star for #TheBridgeHome – which includes 3 for the audiobook that I read aloud). Such an honor – I’m so GRA-teful!

Ordering copies: I hope those of you who want to give your voices a bit of a rest as you read will consider listening to and downloading the audiobook. It was fun creating it and you can read more about my first ever whole novel read aloud experience here. If you are at a Title 1 school or cater to a population that is socioeconomically underprivileged, you may be eligible to order copies of the book at a reduced rate via FirstBook. All others may purchase via local indies or online (such as directly through Penguin Random House).

#GRA19 #GRABridge schedule: I’m thrilled and excited and honored that #TheBridgeHome is a Global Read Aloud, and I cannot wait to meet readers from around the world! Thanks so very much to all of you who’re reading it. During GRA: 

  1. I plan to post once a week on this site. I’ll take questions here, as well. So sign up to follow this blog using the button on the left and you’ll get an alert each time a post goes up. 
  2. Please respond with your questions to my posts by Wednesday 5:00 p.m. (US EDT), with your SCHOOL’S NAME and LOCATION (state and country).
  3. I’ll select as many questions as I can and respond to them through weekly videos, which I hope to post by 1:00 p.m. on Fridays (US EDT).
  4. I’ll also post a weekly activity challenge on this blog and on twitter. Two of the challenges will be in conjunction with judged competitions (judged by Ms. Ripp and her class) and the rest will be combined with a twitter giveaway if possible. 

For now:

  1. Follow me on twitter (see the button on the left) if you’d like a chance to win a free Skype visit. I will be doing a final Skype visit giveaway this Thursday-Monday on twitter. 
  2. If you have questions regarding background information on India or other general topics relating to the book or ideas/questions on discussing tough topics with young audiences or anything else, please feel free to post your questions below. To post questions, you will need to click on “recent posts” (to the left) and then you will be redirected to  screen with this post and will be able to leave comments in a box. Sorry about this extra step, but it’s a precaution to avoid spam.
  3. I’ll do my best to try and answer them by creating my first #GRABridge video by Wednesday next week. This will also serve as a trial run for me, to test and ensure there are no hiccups or bugs in the system.

Finally, speaking of horrid things like spam, please ensure that you NEVER fall prey to phishing. In this day and age when  our identity theft is a problem, I feel I must reiterate the fact that I would NEVER ask for any personal information from you (other than that you may at times need to provide a personal email if you need a reply). I will NEVER ask you for your password or any kind of sensitive information. I truly hope that together with my interns and other computer experts who have helped me create and manage this site, I have installed more than enough anti-theft software, but please remain vigilant and guard your privacy. If it seems like I have written you a message please double check that it is, in fact from me – note, for example that I do NOT send attachments so please do not open any attachment that may seem to be from me. If any trouble or suspicious activity appears to arise, please immediately contact me and/or my publisher or the organizer of GRA, Ms. Ripp.

Thanks so much, everyone, and here’s to a trouble-free, wonderful, enjoyable and epic #GRA experience! Do check out the many resources available for your classroom on my website’s resources page (#GRABridge tab, top left).

17 stars so far…


  • “gorgeous storytelling” – The New York Times Book Review
  • “felt throughout like I never wanted to leave Rukku and Viji’s sides” – Matthew Winner, Today Show
  • “beautifully rendered tale, both harrowing and heartrending” – San Francisco Chronicle
  • Bridges of Understanding – India Currents
  • A Washington Post Summer Book Club Selection!
    • To sign up for the ‘make a difference book club’ this summer (the 1st 500 kids to sign up get a free watch! and there are seven other wonderful books on this list), visit  KidsPost Summer Book Club
  • A Project LIT community selection (#ProjectLIT #JustReadIt)
    • Find out more about Project Lit by visiting amazing teacher Jarred Amato.
  • A Global Read Aloud 2019 selection (#GRA19 #GRABridge)
    • The Bridge Home is the #GlobalReadAloud 2019 MG selection! I look forward to connecting with readers this fall via my blog posts on this website (please follow this blog – button on the left to stay updated) and on twitter (follow me at padmatv). A few resources including a pronunciation guide and a discussion guide are already  posted under Resources (top right menu button, drop down to The Bridge Home #GRABridge tab). I’ll be adding more tools and videos in the summer months. If you’ve developed a teaching resource for The Bridge Home and are willing to share it with the world, please get in touch with me, I’d love to hear about it and add it to my list with a credit to you, of course.  During the #GRA19 weeks, I’ll be posting regularly and answering questions posted as comments here. I will also be offering a few free Skype visits and hope to do some other contests and giveaways. Discover more about rockstar librarian Pernille Ripp, who founded the project a decade ago, sign up on her website or join the fb community. Thanks to everyone who voted!
  • An audiophile magazine earphone winner! I narrated the book, so if you want to listen to me reading it aloud, you can!
  • THANKS to everyone who has supported The Bridge Home. It’s received so many wonderful online reviews and been featured on so many incredible podcasts and videos. At the time of writing, my 4 novels have garnered a total of 17 starred reviews, and I’m thrilled that THE BRIDGE HOME will soon be translated into Vietnamese, Korean and French and that it will be released in India as well. I’m so deeply grateful for all of this, eleven years after I began climbing the stairs as an author.


The Bridge Home

the bridge home - cover

5 + 3 = 8 Stars for The Bridge Home

“A blisteringly beautiful book” – Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“exquisitely narrated” – Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“an absorbing novelof love, loss, and resilience – Booklist, Starred Review

“..stellar…an unforgettable tale” – School Library Journal, Starred Review

“Hopeful yet heartbreaking…Venkatraman weaves a breathtaking story which takes the reader to the streets of India, where millions of homeless children fight to survive each day… Venkatraman does a beautiful job …showing that a “home” and “family” doesn’t always correspond to a house with a white picket fence…a story that must be shared.” – School Library Connection, Starred Review

“moving” – Sound Commentary, Starred Review

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

 Padma Venkatraman narrates her own work, displaying the depth of feeling and caring between 11-year-old Viji and her 12-year-old intellectually disabled sister, Rukku… In particular, Venkatraman portrays how Viji’s controlling relationship with her sister turns to tenderness and respect … Venkatraman’s Indian accent adds to the tone and setting, but it’s the range and believability of emotions that will draw listeners into Viji’s journey from despair to hope. A great family listen to launch important conversations. – Audiofile Magazine, Starred Review

Honors and Awards to date (a partial list)

* Nerdy Book Award Winner

* Cybil Awards

* Kirkus Best MG Bks 2019

* NYPL Best 2019

* Chicago Public Library Best Bks 2019

* Booklist Editor’s Choice Best Bks 2019

* Washington Post Best Bks 2019

* Mighty Girl Best Bks 2019

* TX Bluebonnet award nominee

* SLJ Top 10 Audio Bks 2019

* Bklist Editor’s Choice Best Audio 2019

* Jr Library Guild audio selection

* CSMCL Best Bks 2019

* GoodReads Best MG Bks 2019

*Audiophile Magazine Earphone Award

* Washington Post KidPost Summer Reading Selection

* Global Read Aloud, 2019

* ProjectLIT, 2019-20

* Ebony Teach Best Books 2019

* Betsy Bird’s 31 MG titles in SLJ

* Mighty Girl pick

* Today Show

* “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

Order the Book: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/551690/the-bridge-home-by-padma-venkatraman/9781524738112/

Order the Audio (narrated by the author): https://www.booksontape.com/book/551690/the-bridge-home/
Padma Venkatraman lived in five countries, explored rainforests and coral reefs, and was chief scientist on oceanographic vessels before becoming a United States citizen. Her novels, A TIME TO DANCE, ISLAND’S END and CLIMBING THE STAIRS received several honors and awards. Together with THE BRIDGE HOME Venkatraman’s novels have earned a total of 17 stars so far.
Meet the author at an event:
Sat 2 Mar 2 p.m. R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT 
Wed 6 Mar 6 p.m. Books of Wonder, Uptown, New York, NY 
Thur 7 Mar 7 p.m. Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA
Sun 10 Mar 2 p.m. Pomegranate Books, Wilmington, NC
Sat 16 Mar RosieCon, Indianapolis, IN
Fri 22 Mar KidlitCon, Providence, RI
Sat 30 Mar 10:30 a.m. Writer’s Loft, MA
Sat 30 Mar 2:30 p.m. Aesop’s Fable, Holliston, MA
Sun 31 Mar Massachusetts School Library Conference, Framingham, MA
Thur – Sat 4-6 Apr Whispering Pines Writing Retreat, RI
Sun – Thur 7-11 Apr Highlights Foundation, PA
Sat 13 Apr North Kingstown Free Library, North Kingstown, RI
Sat 27 Apr Keynote Providence Book Festival, RI
Sat 27 Apr 4:30 p.m. An Unlikely Story, Plainsville, MA
Wed 1 May 6:30 p.m. Maury Lootjens Public Library, Narragansett, RI
Thur 2 May 4:00 p.m. Island Books, Middletown, RI
Fri-Sun 3-5 May New England SCBWI conference, MA
Sat 11 May Books A Million, South Portland, ME

Pre-order The Bridge Home

Padma Venkatraman’s latest novel, THE BRIDGE HOME, is now available for pre-order. Visit your favorite bookstore, or order online through any distributor, or through the publisher’s page, by clicking here: THE BRIDGE HOME, Penguin Random House.the bridge home - cover

“It’s Oliver Twist meets Slumdog Millionaire in [The Bridge Home] this tale of homeless children trying to make a life for themselves in Chennai, India. With lyrical, beautiful, and page-turning writing, this is an #OwnVoices story that will serve as a window and mirror for young readers.”

Reviews and Honors, including stars so far..

  • a global read aloud contender
  • “a blisteringly beautiful book” – Starred Review, Kirkus
  • “exquisitely narrated” – Starred Review, PW
  • “an absorbing novel of love, loss and resilience” – Starred Review, Booklist
  • “stellar…unforgettable” – Starred Review, SLJ
  • “will break hearts and inspire activist longings” –
  • “bittersweet novel.. about breaking the cycle of abuse, reaching for your dreams & finding home in the most unlikely of people & places” – Horn Book
  • A Global Read Aloud Contender

“Readers will be captivated by this beautifully written novel about young people who must use their instincts and grit to survive. Padma shares with us an unflinching peek into the reality millions of homeless children live every day but also infuses her story with hope and bravery that will inspire readers and stay with them long after turning the final page.”– Aisha Saeed, author of the New York Times Bestselling Amal Unbound

Padma Venkatraman’s previous novels are A TIME TO DANCE (Starred Reviews in Kirkus, Booklist, VOYA, SLJ and BCCB); ISLAND’S END (Starred Reviews in Kirkus, Booklist, PW and SLJ); and CLIMBING THE STAIRS (Starred Reviews in Booklist, PW, and VOYA).

Praise for A TIME TO DANCE

“Flowing free verse…A beautiful integration of art, religion, compassion and connection.” * Starred Review, Kirkus  

“In Venkatraman’s delectably scented, sensual world, lyrically told through verse and through Veda, life is illuminated as a beautiful celebration of doing what comes naturally, as best as one is able..” * Starred Review, Booklist  

“The descriptions of contemporary India are beautiful and Venkatraman weaves images so divine that you can see the statues of Shiva, hear the ankle bells in the bharatanatyam dance, and smell the acrid scent of burnt rubber from the accident. Told in verse, this story is magnificently strong as Veda’s determination dances off the page and into the reader’s heart.” * Starred Review, VOYA

“This exceptional novel… is sure to appeal…”  * Starred Review, SLJ                                         

“Heart- achingly hopeful and beautifully written, this story will remain with readers long after the final line of verse.” * Starred Review, BCCB

“Sure to go on my favorites list… This book will definitely dance its way through your heart as it did mine.” * Denver Post

” a powerful depiction”   * Chicago Tribune  

“…dazzles and delights…beautifully written…” * Providence Journal  

“…loved this book…” * Newsday

“…powerful images and motifs of sound…”   * Horn Book


Venkatraman makes a memorable debut with this lushly evoked novel set in India during World War II…More than a feisty Cinderella story …this novel 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, Publishers Weekly

Venkatraman paints an intricate and convincing backdrop of a conservative Brahmin home in a time of change…
* Starred review, Booklist

“With a delightfully strong female protagonist who struggles between tradition and the values she holds dear, this novel will capture the imaginations of many readers…”
*Starred Review, VOYA

Climbing the Stairs… is a passionate story…In the novel, books serve as a saving grace…The central theme of the novel, violence and nonviolence, will appeal to an international audience…
* India Currents

After reading this fine, often heart-breaking novel, I noticed that it’s for “young adults”. Well, I’m a ‘youngish adult,’ and I loved it.
* The Providence Journal

Praise for ISLAND’S END

“[Venkatraman] … succeeds spectacularly… Uido is a remarkable heroine … as infused with spirituality as this novel is, there is also heart-stopping action … the larger issues of modernity versus tradition offer much to think about… an intricate yet wholly accessible story”
* Starred Review, Booklist
“a lovely novel… offering an enticing blend of mystic tradition and imaginative speculation, Venkatraman movingly expresses a primitive tribe’s connection to nature and their struggle to find safety in the 21st century”
* Starred Review, PW
“Vividly written and expertly paced … a moving story that will stay with readers long after the end”
* Starred Review, SLJ
“consistenly engrosses… refreshingly hopeful and beautifully written”
* Starred Review, Kirkus

Awards and Honors for A TIME TO DANCE
*Starred review, BCCB * Starred Review, Booklist, * Starred Review, Kirkus, * Starred Review, SLJ * Starred Review, VOYA,
*ALA Notable *ALA/YALSA BBYA *Booklist Editor’s Choice Best Books *Booklist Top 10 art bk *CCBC Choices *Crystal Kite Finalist *CSML Best Books *Eliot Rosewater (IN) masterlist *IBBY Outstanding bk ypd *IRA Notable (NBGS) *Julia Ward Howe Boston Authors Club honor bk *Kirkus Best Books *New York Public Library Top 25 *New York City Reads (#NYC365) *Nutmeg Award (CT) masterlist *Rebecca Caudill (IL) masterlist *Red dot award (Singapore)*Sequoyah (OK) masterlist *Sanoc/SABA finalist

Awards and Honors for CLIMBING THE STAIRS:
Winner, BAC Julia Ward Howe award; Winner, ASTAL RI Book of the Year award; NYPL Best Book; ALA BBYA; ALA/Ameila Bloomer List Selection; Booksense Notable; Booklist Editor’s Choice, BBYA; CCBC Choice; NCSS/CBC Notable; Bank Street College of Education Best Book; Booklinks Best New Book; Pennsylvania School Library Association Top-40; CLN Top 25; Shortlisted for ME, UT, SC and NJ state awards; Shortlisted for Reading Across Rhode Island; Shortlisted for Cybil awards; Capitol Choice; Starred Review, VOYA; Starred Review, Booklist; Starred Review Publishers Weekly.

Awards and Honors for ISLAND’S END
Winner, SANOC International South Asia Book Award; Winner, Paterson Prize; ALA BBYA; ALA/Amelia Bloomer List Selection; Kirkus Best Book of the year; Booklist Editor’s Choice Best Book for Young Adults; CCBC Best Book; Finalist for the Crystal Kite award and BAC Julia Ward Howe award; Starred Review, Kirkus; Starred Review, Booklist; Starred Review, School Library Journal; Starred review, Publishers Weekly.