Born Behind Bars is a quick read, a heartwarming and interesting story about Kabir. I was thankful to read an eARC of this book last summer and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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The summary, from Amazon:

The author of the award-winning The Bridge Home brings readers another gripping novel set in Chennai, India, featuring a boy who’s unexpectedly released into the world after spending his whole life in jail with his mom.

Kabir has been in jail since the day he was born, because his mom is serving time for a crime she didn’t commit. He’s never met his dad, so the only family he’s got are their cellmates, and the only place he feels the least bit free is in the classroom, where his kind teacher regales him with stories of the wonders of the outside world. Then one day a new warden arrives and announces Kabir is too old to stay. He gets handed over to a long-lost “uncle” who unfortunately turns out to be a fraud, and intends to sell Kabir. So Kabir does the only thing he can–run away as fast as his legs will take him. How does a boy with nowhere to go and no connections make his way? Fortunately, he befriends Rani, another street kid, and she takes him under her wing. But plotting their next move is hard–and fraught with danger–in a world that cares little for homeless, low caste children. This is not the world Kabir dreamed of–but he’s discovered he’s not the type to give up. Kabir is ready to show the world that he–and his mother–deserve a place in it.

Buy Born Behind Bars here.

Padma Venkatraman based Born Behind Bars on a true story, and it was such an interesting read that was both heartwarming and heart wrenching. In this middle grade novel, Kabir was raised in jail as his mother was wrongfully incarcerated while pregnant with him. At age nine, he’s forced to leave. After doing so, Kabir deals with potential enslavement, homelessness, classism, and more. He befriends Rani, another street kid, and her parrot. Kabir and Rani work to reunite him with his father’s side of the family, and Kabir continues a fight to get his mother out of prison.

Again, this book really tugged at my heartstrings. I will say I wasn’t crazy about the writing style, but the story itself was creative, interesting, and memorable. I rate it 4 stars and I as very glad for the opportunity to read it.

Find out more about how I rate books here.

Born Behind BarsBorn Behind Bars by Padma Venkatraman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Heart-warming and interesting.

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Book Club Questions

  1. Who was your favorite character? Why?
  2. What do you think the most challenging part of Kabir’s story was for him?

Interested? Buy Born Behind Bars.
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