|Born behind bars|
Author: Venkatraman, Padma
In Chennai, India, after spending his whole life in jail with his mother, who is serving time for a crime she did not commit, nine-year-old Kabir is suddenly released and has to figure out how to survive on his own in the outside world.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 514294
Kirkus Reviews (+) (07/15/21)
School Library Journal (11/01/21)
Booklist (+) (09/01/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/09/21)
The Hornbook (00/11/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2021 *Starred Review* Nine-year-old Kabir has only known a life limited by Indian prison walls. His mother, incarcerated for a crime she didn’t commit, gave birth in confinement and has raised him with the help of other inmates—his “Aunties”—and an encouraging teacher. Kabir longs for life beyond that narrow, grim world, but when he suddenly finds himself cast out by the new prison warden, he has no idea how to navigate the noisy, bustling city around him. After nearly being sold into servitude by an unscrupulous guardian, Kabir goes on the run. Rani, a more experienced homeless child, generously takes him under her (and her parrot’s) wing. Remaining hopeful through it all, an indefatigable Kabir decides to seek out his father’s relatives, despite scant details to go on. Rani is willing to humor him, and the pair sets off to find his kin and figure out a way to free Kabir’s mother. Through Kabir’s observant eyes, Venkatraman (The Bridge Home, 2019) thoughtfully and gently explores a troubled justice system, interstate conflicts over increasingly common water shortages, and a frustrating caste system. It’s a difficult world, but there are plenty of kindnesses and minor miracles to soften the rough edges. An optimistic and earnest tale of the power of hope and the gift of family in all forms. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2021 Gr 5 Up—Social norms and caste systems are explored in depth in Venkatraman's latest. Kadir is a boy born behind bars. Accused of stealing from the people she worked for, Kadir's mother was thrown in jail without a trial. In jail she learned she was pregnant; for the last nine years, Kadir has known only life in prison. Suddenly, Kadir is deemed too old to stay and is thrust out into a world that he has never known. On the hunt to find his father and free his mother, Kadir has to tackle countless obstacles to stay alive on the streets of Chennai, India. This novel is for readers who are seeking realistic fiction that tug at the heartstrings. The story is authentic, and the emotion behind Kadir and his mother's relationship will induce tears. This is a true window book for many readers unaware of caste systems and the struggles within them. Venkatraman takes these complex topics and makes them heartfelt and resonant. VERDICT A well-rounded story of a boy and his struggle to survive alone in the world. A suggested read for lovers of timely tales of children surviving all odds, and a suggested purchase for middle school libraries where realistic fiction and adventure circulate well.—Elizabeth Pelayo, St. Charles East H.S., IL - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.