Book: The Bridge Home

Author: Padma Venkatraman

Review by: Sucheta Rawal, an award-winning food and travel writer, author of the ‘Beato Goes To’ series of children’s books, and founder of Atlanta-based nonprofit Go Eat Give. 

Sucheta Rawal at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in New York, where she met the author Padma Venkatraman.

I met author Padma Venkatraman at a children’s book writers conference in New York in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit the world and brought all in-person events to a groundbreaking and very long halt. The Bridge Home had won an award at the event, so I purchased a signed copy. 

Being a children’s book writer myself, I am inspired to read other authors and support their accomplishments. A few months later, while I was stuck at home, I got around to actually reading the book. 

Meant for middle-grade readers, it turned out that the novel is equaling gripping for adults. The story is about four homeless kids living on the streets in southern India, as told by a young girl who has so much hope, love and friendship, despite not having any material possessions at all. Even in the direst of circumstances, with no food, shelter or medicine, the kids find meaning in their work and make each other laugh. 

This beautifully written book transported me to the streets of Chennai and gave me a glimpse into the lives of people in a distant place within my home country, one that is hard to imagine from the comforts of my warm and cozy suburban home, yet is quite real. The characters are based on actual kids and events the author observed during her time in India. 

Though The Bridge Home is a sad story, it made me realize that we can all have the courage to overcome adversity and find hope in any circumstance. We all have problems, stresses and unaddressed needs but share the same bond of “human nature” that is resilient and positive. 

Editor’s notes: Global Atlanta will receive a 10 percent commission on any purchase of this book through the links on this page. also contributes 10 percent of the purchase price of each book to independent booksellers around the United States.

Each year, Global Atlanta asks influential readers and community leaders to review the most impactful book they read during the course of the year. This endeavor has continued annually since 2010. 

See last year’s full list of books on BookShop here, and all 2020 reader picks here. 

All books were chosen and reviews written independently, with only mild editing from our staff.