Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman - ESSENTIAL

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman, 187 pages. Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin), 2019. $17                       

Content: G



Realizing that their mom will not protect them, Viji takes her sister Rukku and they run away from home. Rukku feels that they will have a better life on the streets in India that at home with their abusive father. They meet people that are kind and people that at cruel. One shopkeeper gives Rukku a jar of colorful beads. They finally decide to live on an abandoned bridge, under some torn tarps, not realizing that the "home" belonged to two boys, Muthi and Arul. The four children made friends and decided to work together. They scoured garbage dumps for scraps and recyclable items. The sell the scraps to scrap man and get money to buy some needed items. While they hunt through the garbage dumps, rukku makes beautiful beaded necklaces. They sell the necklaces and make more money. Life is tolerable, and at times happy, until the rainy season and Rukku gets very sick.    

I loved this book and I read it in one sitting. I was right there with the four children as they struggled through surviving every day. When Rukku gets sick, they have to decide if there is anyone, they can trust to help them. The descriptions of smells, pounding rain and mosquitos was so vivid, I could "feel" it and "smell" it. I agonized with Viji. I cannot wait for school to start up again so I can Book Talk this book to my students.           

Ellen-Anita, Librarian

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