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

About the Author

Padma Venkatraman lives in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. An oceanographer by training, she is the author of twenty books for young readers, published in India, on a variety of subjects. To learn more, about her book Climbing the Stairs, visit the web site, www.climbingthestairsbook.com. You can also read her blog, padmasbooks.blogspot.com.

Reviews

* "Venkatraman's middle-grade debut tackles sisterhood, chosen families, and loss. . . . Viji's narration is vivid and sensory. . . . The novel also touches on social justice issues such as caste, child labor, and poverty elegantly, without sacrificing narrative. A blisteringly beautiful book."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review * "Exquisitely narrated novel set in Chennai, India. . . . Venkatraman vividly sketches the group's precarious economic situation. . . . This is a poignant portrait of love, sacrifice, and chosen family in the midst of poverty."--Publishers Weekly, starred review * "The four individual children and their tightknit relationship are portrayed with conviction and finesse. Written in the form of a letter from Viji to her sister, the affecting narrative transports readers to a faraway setting that becomes vivid and real. While the young characters face unusually difficult challenges, together they find the courage they need to move forward. The author of A Time to Dance, Venkatraman offers an absorbing novel of love, loss, and resilience."--Booklist, starred review * "In her stellar middle grade debut, Venkatraman brings compassionate attention to the plight of India's homeless children. . . . Venkatraman's depiction of the streets of Chennai is a sensory experience. Her elegant prose tells a heartfelt, wholly captivating story while encouraging readers to consider larger issues including religion, poverty, and the caste system. An unforgettable tale of families lost, found, and moving ahead without leaving those they love behind."--School Library Journal, starred review "An author's note attests to the reality of all of the situations described in the book as having been drawn from first-person accounts; the tenderness of Viji's love for her sister and her new 'brothers' will break hearts and inspire activist longings."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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