Are you looking for a great novel to read with your students? The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman is a great choice.
With its empowering story, positive message, and captivating plot, The Bridge Home is a perfect classroom read-aloud or book club novel.
Imagine two young girls, 11 and 12 years old, alone in a city of over 7 million. Factor in that one of the girls has a developmental disability. The girls have no money. Returning home is not an option as their father has become physically abusive. This is the premise of The Bridge Home.
Viji and Rukku walk the city looking for a safe place to sleep. They come across a stray dog that immediately loves Rukku. Viji, Rukku, and the dog – they name Kutti – find an old abandoned bridge to spend the night. There they meet two boys, Arul and Muthu, already living under the bridge. The boys share their home with the girls and Kutti. The group soon become fast friends, a family unit.
Arul shows Viji how to scavenge the trash heaps for glass and metal to sell. Rukku sits in the shade and makes beaded necklaces while the others scavenge. One day Rukku learns that people are willing to pay for her necklaces, so she too can make money to support the group. Time goes by as the group lives happily under the bridge.
T-R-O-U-B-L-E The waste mart man takes an interest in Rukku. He comes to their bridge trying to kidnap her. The children are able to escape, but their home is no longer safe. Now, where will they live? The rainy season is coming. The meager income is lost with the waste mart man now an enemy.
Read The Bridge Home to learn how this group survives – or do they?
Activities for The Bridge Home
The Bridge Home Unit Samples
Grab a free sample of The Bridge Home Novel Study. This download includes the printable version for Chapters 1-4.
Click here to get your free book unit sample.
Do you want to give The Bridge Home a try? Below are some activities including free printables to enhance your novel study.
In this handout are fact cards about several topics found in the novel The Bridge Home including recycling, teenage runaways, and India. Some of the statements on the cards are TRUE while others are FALSE. A list of activities for using the cards is also provided.
Here are a few sample facts from the packet. See if you know which statements are true or false.
- You can recycle paper, plastic, glass, metal, textiles, batteries, electronic equipment, and food.
- An average person throws away 10 pounds of trash every day.
- 100% of our trash can be recycled.
- In 2019, 11% of homeless youth were between the ages of 18-24 and the remaining 89% were under 18 years old.
- Young people experiencing homelessness are more likely than their peers to be affected by substance use disorders and mental health issues.
- Half of the caretakers of the runaways did not know where the runaway was for at least 30 days.
- About 1.2 billion people live in India compared to approximately 3 million people living in the United States.
- English is the main language in India, but most people speak Hinduism as well.
The currency in India is the rupee.