"Readers will be captivated by this beautifully written novel about young people who must use their instincts and grit to survive. Padma infuses her story with hope and bravery that will inspire readers."--Aisha Saeed, author of the New York Times Bestseller Amal Unbound
Four determined homeless children make a life for themselves in Padma Venkatraman's stirring middle-grade debut.
Life is harsh on the teeming streets of Chennai, India, 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 that's also the hideout of Muthi and Arul, two homeless boys, and the four of them soon form a family of sorts. And while making their living scavenging the city's trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to 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.
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Padma Venkatraman was born in Chennai, India, and became an American citizen after living in five countries and working as an oceanographer. She is also the author of A Time to Dance (IBBY selection, ALA Notable, Notable Books for a Global Society, and New York Public Library Best Book), Island's End (ALA Best Book for Young Adults, CCBC Choice, and South Asia Book Award winner), and Climbing the Stairs (Bank Street Best Book, ALA/Amelia Bloomer List, YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, and Julia Ward Howe Award winner).