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A Conversation with Padma Venkatraman

Join us on Monday, July 13th at 6PM for an intergenerational book discussion with 2020 RI Great Reads author, Padma Venkatraman!


The conversation will be moderated by Meagan Lenihan, Lincoln School Librarian and Director of the Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books and Authors, and co-hosted by Rhode Island Center for the Book and Providence Community Library.

The event is free but registration is required. You will receive an email on the morning of the event with a link to join via Zoom.

Padma Venkatraman served as chief scientist on research vessels in Germany, directed a school in England, worked in a laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, and obtained her doctorate in oceanography at the College of William and Mary before becoming a full-time author. Her most recent novel, THE BRIDGE HOME, which has received eight starred reviews since its publication in 2019, is the winner of a Walter Award, Golden Kite Award, Nerdy Book Award, Paterson Prize, and Audiophile Earphone Award, in addition to garnering numerous other honors. Her previous novels, A TIME TO DANCE, CLIMBING THE STAIRS and ISLAND'S END were also all released to multiple starred reviews and gained several awards and honors. Born in India, Venkatraman was sworn in as a citizen of the United States in Rhode Island, which is now her home. Visit Venkatraman at or follow her on twitter (@padmatv), ig or fb (venkatraman.padma).

“Readers will be captivated by this beautifully written novel about young people who must use their instincts and grit to survive. Padma shares with us an unflinching peek into the reality millions of homeless children live every day but also infuses her story with hope and bravery that will inspire readers and stay with them long after turning the final page.”–Aisha Saeed, author of the New York Times Bestselling Amal Unbound

Four determined homeless children make a life for themselves in Padma Venkatraman’s stirring middle-grade debut.

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.

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman is available to borrow with your library card through curbside delivery at all nine PCL locations ( The eBook and eAudiobook are both available on the RI eZone. Download the Libby app or navigate to to sign up. If you would like a set of books for your class or group, please send an email to .

Do you love talking about books with other book lovers? Have you been searching for an intellectual, fun and easy-going book discussion to join? Look no further! Amy Rosa from the Washington Park Library and Lee Smith from the Mount Pleasant Library have launched PCL READS— the citywide, one book, one community book discussion—and we want YOU to accompany us at our next meeting! Join our Goodreads group to stay current on the latest happenings (!

Providence Community Library (PCL) endeavors to provide an atmosphere conducive to the productive use of the library and its services. PCL's behavior policy prohibits all forms of harassment and intimidation. By registering, attendees agree to the terms of the behavior policy. Any and all attendees engaging in or believed to be engaging in conduct in violation of the behavior policy will be immediately ejected without notice or warning. This conduct includes, but is not limited to vulgar, obscene, and abusive language; name-calling; taunting; and any conduct referencing or directed at an individual or group that demeans that person/group on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, creed, age, disability or other extraneous factors. PCL is the sole judge as to whether violation of the behavior policy has occurred.