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My daughter and I were big fans of The Bridge Home and have been eagerly awaiting the release of Born Behind Bars. We both loved this book just as much. The characters have so much heart, charm, and depth. Venkatraman so effectively conjures the wonder of Kabir discovering the beauty and sometimes ugliness of life in the outside world. It is a joy to join him on his incredibly touching journey. Padma visited our school virtually last year which was such a treat. Her own life story is quite amazing as well. Our school librarian reminded me that a character from The Bridge Home makes an appearance in Born Behind Bars which blew our minds once we made the connection. Reading this book to my daughter was a joyous and tearful experience. My favorite books are the ones that make me laugh and cry and this one did both.
In BORN BEHIND BARS, author Padma Venkatraman transports readers to the streets of Chennai, following the journey of 9-year-old Kabir after he is separated from his jailed mother. Your heart will ache for Kabir when he reflects on his love for his Amma or encounters cruelty at the hands of bigoted strangers, and will sing alongside his when he experiences simple joys like the taste of fresh street food or the feeling of ocean waves against his skin. As with her earlier novel, THE BRIDGE HOME, Venkatraman lends voice to the voiceless in a story that is moving, honest, and authentic, resulting from careful research. At the end, BORN BEHIND BARS will leave you filled with hope and renewed faith in the power of courage and kindness.
This story is beautifully written and the structure is simple enough for a young reader to follow who is just starting chapter books. The story introduces the reader to modern day India where the flawed caste system exists. Kabir is set free from spending his entire life behind bars and he quickly learns about the unjust treatment of lower class citizens. The novel also shares the conflict between Hindus and Muslims. Kabir is a delightful lead character who readers will gladly cheer for from the beginning of the story to the end.
Ms. Venkatraman has written a beautiful and relevant novel about the lives of brave young children struggling to find their way home. It was a page turner, and I found it moving and realistic, as it depicts the injustices of the criminal system, the longing for freedom and the determination in reaching that goal. The characters are portrayed with love and sensitivity, as they come to life, and I felt I was in their world and could see the world through their eyes. It is a wonderful read, for all ages!
A stunningly gorgeous novel about Kabir, a nine-year-old boy born while his mother is in prison in Chennai, India. When the new warden decides he's too old to still be living there, Kabir ends up living on the streets. The friendship between Kabir and an older Roma girl, Rani, is inspiring. The ending is heartwarming and beautiful.
I have read and loved everything Padma Venkatraman writes. May she continue to grace us with her talent!