Born Behind Bars by Padma Venkatraman
“Venkatraman has a penchant for exploring weighty subjects, never shying away from diving into their depths. Utilizing elements of myth and storytelling, this gripping tale is narrated by a young boy, whose entire existence has been confined to the realm of fiction.” – New York Times Book Review
The acclaimed author of The Bridge Home brings readers an enthralling new novel set in Chennai, India. The story follows a young boy named Kabir, who has spent his entire life in jail with his mother, despite her innocence. With no knowledge of his father, Kabir’s only family has been his fellow inmates. The only place where he feels a semblance of freedom is in the classroom, where his compassionate teacher regales him with tales of the world beyond.
However, everything changes when a new warden arrives and declares Kabir too old to remain in prison. He is handed over to a supposed “uncle” who turns out to be a fraud, intending to sell Kabir. Faced with this dire situation, Kabir makes a daring escape, determined to forge his own path. But as a homeless, impoverished child in a society that neglects those like him, Kabir’s journey is riddled with obstacles and dangers.
Despite the challenges, Kabir finds solace and assistance in the form of Rani, a fellow street child who becomes his ally. Together, they navigate the treacherous landscape, constantly plotting their next move in order to survive. Kabir refuses to accept the world he finds himself in; instead, he is determined to prove that he and his mother deserve a place in society.
Join Kabir as he embarks on a remarkable quest to defy adversity and find his rightful place in a world that often overlooks the plight of homeless, marginalized children. This captivating novel will keep readers enthralled from start to finish, as Kabir’s resilience and determination become a beacon of hope amidst the challenges he faces.
Born Behind Bars: A Powerful Tale of Friendship and Hope in an Indian Jail
Welcome to my web post! My name is Colby Sharp, and as a 5th-grade teacher from Michigan, I aim to inspire kids to develop a love for reading. Today, I want to share an incredible book with you called “Born Behind Bars” by Padma Venkatraman. This story, set in India, revolves around a boy named Kabir who has spent his entire life in jail since his mother was imprisoned while pregnant with him.
The conditions in this particular jail are dire, especially for a child. However, amidst the sadness, Kabir is fortunate to have caring individuals who have supported him, provided an education, and helped him cope. But everything changes when a new warden decides that Kabir should no longer live in the jail because he has reached a certain age.
Kabir’s supposed uncle arrives to take him away, but things aren’t as they seem. Realizing that he is in danger of being sold into child trafficking, Kabir must escape and fend for himself on the streets. Imagine never having experienced the outside world, suddenly finding yourself alone with nothing.
Fortunately, Kabir meets a remarkable girl named Ronnie, who has her own struggles as a street child. They quickly become close friends, understanding each other’s hardships. However, throughout their journey, Kabir remains eager to uncover the truth about his family.
This book beautifully portrays the power of friendship and the potential that lies within acts of kindness between two children who don’t quite fit in. In a world filled with hate, anger, and religious disputes, witnessing the bond formed by these two kids is truly remarkable. It serves as a reminder of what is possible and the resilience of friendship.
I had the pleasure of reading this book before returning to school, where friendships had been disrupted by the previous year’s circumstances. Seeing how Kabir and Ronnie’s friendship blossomed gave me hope for the potential of new friendships and the impact children can have on one another.
Lastly, I want to mention the book’s layout, which provides ample white space. With short paragraphs and sentences, the reader is invited to dive in without feeling overwhelmed. It’s a small detail that enhances the reading experience.
I highly recommend “Born Behind Bars” to upper elementary and middle school readers. It will undoubtedly captivate them, just as “The Bridge Home,” another one of Padma Venkatraman’s mesmerizing works did. I hope you take the time to check it out and enjoy it as much as I did.
Thank you for reading! I’m Colby Sharp, and I wish you an awesometastic day!