Teach the Bridge Home (GRA#19 GRABridge #ProjectLIT)

Author Reading:

Watch a video of Padma Venkatraman reading a chapter from THE BRIDGE HOME.

Global Read Aloud Q & A Videos for THE BRIDGE HOME can be accessed in 3 ways:

  1. Download Q & A videos that the author created based on some of the questions submitted by readers during the Global Read Aloud: Week 6 (chapters 38-44) – if you’re going to watch just one Q &A, then click on this link; Week 5 (chapters 31-37); Week 4 (chapters 23-30); Week 3 (chapters 16-22); Week 2 (chapters 8-15); Week 1 (chapters 1-7) and Week 0 (because some groups started reading a week before #GRA19 began).
  2. Access these same GRA Q & A videos and additional related material by reading the blogposts written by the author during Week 6, Week 5, Week 4, Week 3, Week 2, Week 1 and the pre-GRA week
  3. View these and all other videos via Padma Venkatraman’s YouTube channel

In addition, several additional resources (containing background material and extension activities) were created, as listed below.


Many of the resources below are incorporated into this page so that any visitor can easily view them. If you wish to download the files onto your own device for classroom use, please do so from Padma Venkatraman’s padlet.

Take a visual tour of the city that inspired the book! Dive into this pdf containing several annotated photographs that provide background and are especially curated for scenes connected with the book: Photographic Resources for THE BRIDGE HOME.

Try these activities! Map out where the characters live:

Write the characters’ names in their mother tongue, Tamil

Listen to the author speak about her inspiration:

Watch a trailer in which the author reads excerpts from the book:

Look at some early acclaim for the book: 

Additional resources: PLEASE NOTE that some of the links provided are for google files that are set to view and download but your school’s administrator may not provide access; if you cannot access the links below, do try the author’s padlet or youtube (follow button on the right) but kindly refrain from sending messages to request permission (which clog up her already overflowing inbox). Many thanks for understanding! Here’s an activity on Peace and The Bridge Home , short videos for week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5 and week 6 of #GRA19, and these same videos plus blog posts written by the author during week 0, week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5, week 6. You may also access all videos via Padma Venkatraman’s YouTube channel.

AUDIO RESOURCES (Pronunciation Guide, Author Interviews and more): 

Listen to the first pages of The Bridge Home in the Author’s Own Voice.

Listen to Padma Venkatraman and her daughter pronounce Indian words and names in The Bridge Home:


Listen to the author’s daughter playing the South Indian Bamboo flute (Carnatic style classical music):

Learn the story behind the story from these interviews in which Padma Venkatraman speaks about THE BRIDGE HOME (after you complete reading the novel, as there may be some spoilers): Into the Words Podcast by Alison Green Myers; The Children’s Books Podcast by Matthew C Winner; Meet the Author podcast (and blog entry on the author’s experience of reading aloud the audiobook).

EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL: Decorate your classroom or library with a poster that says Read… because Books Bridge Homes and Hearts” or one that says “Build Bridges with Books…“. Explore discussion questions and ideas for research activities: The Bridge Home Discussion Guide.  Make Padma Venkatraman’s favorite Indian dessert, and see suggestions for authentic cookbooks, activities to increase awareness of hunger, and discussion prompts relating to food: COOKING UP STORIES. Play The Bridge Home BINGO (the pdf contains two separate bingo grids, filled with fun stuff, one for younger readers and one for older readers) and this incredible vocabulary game created by Nurpur Sethi. Looking for tie-ins with other subjects? Here are suggestions for extension activities associated with Social Studies, Mathematics and Science Connections, and Additional Writing Prompts (Note that The Bridge Home Discussion Guide also lists writing prompts and research activities). If you are motivated to take action on an issue related to The Bridge Home, here are some ideas on ACTIVISM for Social Justice. Or encourage student participation as you read from this Reader’s Theater Style Play Script for 2 Scenes from THE BRIDGE HOME created by the author (weeks 2 and 3 of #GRA19 #GRABridge). Blog post on hunger by the author and a link to lesson plans on socioeconomic diversity. Try a blackout poem (idea: Megan Hall) or  a video tour of India (credit: Erica Morrill). Check out this amazing hyperdoc created by teachers Jeen Breen Johnson, Jean O’Brien, Shannon O’Neill, Amy Celis, Gustav Lindqvist, Melissa Rae, Danielle Rankovich, Julie Jasinki and Danielle Grate. Discover more lesson plans ideas (some created by the author, some created by others and credited to them) – and download onto your device for educational use from Padma Venkatraman’s padlet.

RELEVANT ARTICLES: A resource on the importance of discussing books on tough topics with children. Articles that provide background information that may be of interest to readers of THE BRIDGE HOME: a discussion of the caste system, Hinduism through the Western Lens, Hindu philosophy through the Vedanta Lens, Indian history, Indian Saints, Female Indian Saints, an inspiring story about a person who was homeless, a home for children with disabilities, an organization that helps children in India, an organization referenced in the Author’s note.

FURTHER READING: Thirsting for more? This personal statement by the author about Understanding and Respecting Disability contains some recommendations, as does this list.

ORDERS AND RECORDING: You may order via the normal channels or order directly from Penguin; for help with international orders please reach out to Penguin Random House International. If you’re considering recording parts of the book for strictly educational purposes, please follow these guidelines (if you must read online, please livestream portions of the book each day to only a limited number of students in a password-protected way; if you must record a portion then ensure you only record a short portion, only make this available only to a limited number of students for a limited time, password-protect and delete the recording within 24 hours) or order the acclaimed award-winning audiobook narrated by the author herself.