The Bridge Home, by Padma Venkatraman

Written by Padma Venkatraman

Life is harsh in Chennai’s teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter–and friendship–on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city’s trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.

This book reminded me of The Boxcar Children, which I loved as a kid. I really enjoyed the characters and their ability to triumph over despair, poverty and hard times. I’ve noticed that sometimes students are reluctant to pick up stories from other countries, but it is well worth giving it a try anyway. Students who also like The War That Saved My Life or Sweep may enjoy this book.

Review by Jessica Riggs, Robert Frost Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 4-6

The Bridge Home
Written by Padma Venkatraman
Nancy Paulsen Books
194 pages
Release Date: February 5, 2019
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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