Padma Venkatraman

“Books transform us because they let us travel without a ticket – not just to other places and times, but also, into other hearts and minds. When we open the pages of a good book, we enter a character’s soul and experience; when we close it, we’re a bit more empathetic. I love speaking, listening, sharing, and inspiring others because when we meet, the compassionate and creative magic of story comes alive in a special way.”

Biography

Padma Venkatraman is the award-winning author of highly acclaimed novels such as The Bridge Home, a 2019 Global Read Aloud book; A Time to Dance, which received five-starred reviews; and Climbing the Stairs.

Born in India, Padma survived a difficult childhood. As a young girl, books were a saving grace, although she never came across protagonists who looked like her. When she left India at the age of nineteen, she decided to pursue her love of science and mathematics rather than her love of literature. She immigrated to America on her own, obtained her doctorate in oceanography at the College of William and Mary, conducted postdoctoral work at Johns Hopkins University, and worked in Germany, the United Arab Emirates.

Before becoming a full-time, award-winning South-Asian American author, Padma Venkatraman explored rainforests and coral reefs, directed a school, taught at a university, conducted research in environmental engineering, and served as chief scientist on oceanographic ships where she was the only female and only person of color.

As an adult who lives with a chronic health condition, she is dedicated to increasing diversity and multiculturalism in books, a cause for which she has worked consistently for over a decade.

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