Monday, August 03, 2015

A TIME TO DANCE Author Events


ISBN # 978-0-399-25710-0

Released to 5 stars

*Kirkus, Starred review *Booklist, Starred review *VOYA, Starred review *BCCB, Starred review *SLJ, Starred review 

Booklist Top 10 art bk of the year; Forever Literary Top 10 Character Driven Books; Kirkus Best Books for Teens; Booklist Editor's Choice Best Books of 2014; New York Public Library Top 25; IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities; 25 Books by Women to Diversify your Shelves; Indiebound Summer selection...
A TIME TO DANCE received marvelous reviews in newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, the Denver Post and the Providence Journal, plus rave reviews online. Excerpts from reviews are provided in another post on this blog. Below, I list several author events I'm pleased to be doing, to most of which everyone is welcome. Some, however, are closed to the public, so please check.

In 2016:
- Sat 24 Jul, WNDB festival, Washington, DC
- Fri-Sun 14-16 Oct, James River Festival, VA
- Wed-Thus 30-31 AWP, Los Angeles, CA

In 2015:
- Wed 4 Feb, Pratt Institute, NY (private lecture for class, not open to the public)
- Thurs 12- Thurs 19 Mar, Hong Kong Youth Literary Festival, Hong Kong, China
- Fri/Sat 19/20 Mar, Salve Regina University, March into Reading, Newport, RI
- Fri/Sat/Sun 24-26 Apr, NESCBWI, Springfield, MA
- Thurs 14 May 3:30-7:30 Diversity Now, Boston Public Library, Copely Square, Boston, MA
- Thurs 18 - Sat 20 June OSSWC, Kingston, URI
- Wed 8 July, KQL International, CCSU, CT
- Sat 25 July, Writing Workshop, Tomaquaq museum, Exeter, RI
- Sat 19 Sept, 1:00 p.m., Diversity Discussion, Eric Carle Museum, MA
- Fri-Sun 16-18 Oct, USBBY, IBBY, New York, NY
- Fri 31 Oct, NEATE, Mansfield, MA
- Sat 22 Nov, NCTE, Minneapolis, MN

In 2014:

April in the Caribbean
- Keynote address at Beach Pen Literary Festival

May in RI, CT
- 1:00 p.m. Saturday 10 May, Tomaquag Museum, Exeter, RI
- 4:00 p.m. Saturday 17 May, Books on the Square, Providence, RI
- 3:00-5:00 Sunday 18 May, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

June in RI, NY, DC, MD
- 1:30-3:30 Tuesday 3 June, Coastal Institute Bookstore, GSO, Narragansett, RI 
- 11:00-4:00 Saturday 7 June, Curiosity and Mischief, Narragansett Pier, RI
- 1:00-3:00 p.m. Saturday 14, June Wakefield Books, Wakefield Mall, RI
- 7:00 p.m. Monday 16, June Willett Free Library, Saunderstown, RI
- 19th-21st June, Ocean State Summer Writing Conference, URI, Kingston, RI* 
- 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, 24 June Books of Wonder, New York, NY
- 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, 25 June Politics and Prose, Washington DC
- 2:30-4:30 p.m., Saturday 28 June, Govan's Branch, Enoch Pratt Library, Baltimore, MD

July in MA
- 10:00-12:00, Saturday 19 June, Wellesley Booksmith, Wellesley, MA
- 6:00 p.m., Monday 21 July, Robbins Public Library, Arlington, MA

July in RI
- 9:00 - 12:30, Wednesday 23 July, Tomaquag museum, Exeter, RI
- 2:30-5:30, Sunday 27 July, Symposium Books, East Greenwich, RI

August in CA
- 7:00 p.m. Friday 15 August, Books Inc., Mountain View, CA
- 2:00 - 4:30, Saturday 16 August, Saratoga Public Library, CA

Sept in RI, MD, VA
- 26-28 Baltimore Book Festival, Baltimore, MD
- 6:00 p.m., Sunday 14 September, Authors on Main, Wakefield, RI
- 18 September, Bookworm Central, Manassas, VA

October in RI, CT, MA
- Sunday 5 October, Island Books, Middletown, RI
- 4:30 p.m., Tuesday 7 October, RWU, Bristol, RI
- Fri-Sat 17-18 October, Lincoln School, Providence, RI
- Sun-Mon 19-20 October, NELA, Boxborough, MA

November in RI, MA
- 2:00 p.m., Saturday 8 November, Davisville Free Library, Davisville, RI
- Harvard University  (invited class lecture, not open to the public)
- Fri-Sun 21-23 November, NCSS, Boston, MA

December in NY
- 6:00 p.m., Wed 10 December, New York Public Library, NY (words without borders)

*I'm doing a workshop on writing YA novels at URI's Ocean State Summer Writing conference, so do register if you'd like to do a writing workshop with me : http://www.uri.edu/summerwriting/2014/index.html

Saturday, August 01, 2015

A TIME TO DANCE released to STARRED reviews in 5 journals - and more!

FIVE STARS FOR A TIME TO DANCE

Thrilled to announce the release of my third novel, A TIME TO DANCE (Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Random House) to starred reviews in 5 journals: Kirkus, Booklist, VOYA , BCCB and SLJ, as well as an IndieBound citation and marvelous reviews online and in major newspapers!

ISBN #:  978-0-399-25710-0

National Book Award Winner, Gloria WhelanWith words that move with grace and elegance … In poetic imagery as graceful as Veda’s dancing, Venkatraman has drawn a vivid picture of contemporary India, and given a gift of faith and hope to all who, like Veda, find their dream slipping away.

* Kirkus, STARRED ReviewFlowing free verse tells the story of a teenage dancer in Chennai, India, who loses a leg and re-learns how to dance…. Venkatraman weaves together several themes so elegantly that they become one... The fluid first-person verse uses figurative speech sparingly, so when it appears … it packs a punch. Veda’s no disabled saint; awkwardness and jealousy receive spot-on portrayals…A beautiful integration of art, religion, compassion and connection.


* Booklist, STARRED Review: In Venkatraman’s delectably scented, sensual world, lyrically told through verse and through Veda, life is illuminated as a beautiful celebration of doing what comes naturally, as best as one is able. Veda's awakening of her gift throughout her altered body and revolutionary prosthesis provides a spiritually uplifting premise. …The acclaimed author of Climbing the Stairs (2008), Venkatraman deftly shapes readers’ comprehension of physical ability into a new arc of understanding. To even have a passing thought that Veda is disabled, rather than differently-abled, would be utter madness.

* VOYA, Starred review: "...The descriptions of contemporary India are beautiful and Venkatraman weaves images so divine that you can see the statues of Shiva, hear the ankle bells in the bharatanatyam dance, and smell the acrid scent of burnt rubber from the accident. Told in verse, this story is magnificently strong as Veda’s determination dances off the page and into the reader’s heart."

* SLJ, Starred review: "...This exceptional novel, told entirely in verse, captures beautifully the emotions of a girl forced to deal with a number of challenges and how she overcomes them on her way to becoming a confident young woman...It is sure to appeal..."

Horn Book: "Brief lines, powerful images, and motifs of sound communicate Veda's difficult struggle"

Denver Post: “...'A Time to Dance' by Padma Venkatraman is a great read ... It is sure to go on my 'Favorite Books' list. This book will definitely dance its way through your heart as it did mine."

Chicago Tribune“powerful depiction of a teen girl struggling to recover from an accident propels Padma Venkatraman's "A Time to Dance," a novel-in-verse… Venkatraman poignantly illustrates the break between Veda's old life and new…”

LitUp Reviews:  Every book I read leaves me with some kind of impression… it is rarer for me to finish a book and feel struck with a sense of utter beauty. Going beyond gorgeous prose, the novels that make me feel this way tell tales with rich settings and vivid emotions. A Time to Dance is one of these books, and every aspect shines... Venkatraman does not try to convert readers to any religion, but she weaves spirituality into Veda’s journey to recovery, making it an integral and fascinating part of the character…Watching Veda decide what her Hinduism means to her and discover that dance can be spiritual rather than cutthroat can only be described as magical.

Venkatraman accompanies her intricate dance of a plot with rhythmic writing that flows as mellifluously as music, perfectly accompanying the story’s subject matter…The beat created by the broken lines makes the words feel like effortless footwork…readers who like multicultural stories, lyrical verse, or tales about people gaining strength from tragedies have to read this book.

Newsday: "I loved this book. It transported me into Veda's life. Being a dancer myself, I was able to feel her struggle...This book is like a love story, tragedy and spiritual read all at once."

providencejournal.com reviewed A TIME TO DANCE twice. Sam Coale (Wheaton Professor) calls it a: "beautifully written novel novel...heartbreaking tale...Venkatraman has created a rich, exotic and fully human world that dazzles and delights. Her way with prose reflects Veda’s with dancing: “Nothing else fills me with as much elation as chasing down soaring music.” This novel accomplishes exactly that." 
Another review, by Kathleen Odean (also in the ProJo) says: "beautifully written...lyrical and compelling"

Summer 2014 IndieNext listThis beautiful book, written in verse, follows the life of a young girl who loves to dance. The struggles caused by her traditional Indian family's disapproval of her passion are compounded when disaster strikes and she loses a leg in a car accident. For anyone looking to be uplifted and inspired, this stunningly lyrical novel comes highly recommended!”
—Danica Ram, Townie Books, Crested Butte, CO


thehidingspot.blogspot.com This site has a video showing Bharatanatyam, in addition to a lovely review: "Told entirely in verse, this exploration of faith, resilience, and traditional Indian dance will surely inspire readers to reach for their dreams, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles...Venkatraman does a phenomenal job of describing the different poses and stances that Veda must learn to remaster after her accident...A Time to Dance shouldn't be missed. "

Quercus, Winding Oak: It's a book about many things: faith, friendship, family, young love, strength of conviction, feelings that rollercoaster realistically from despair to leaping joy. The sensory details pulled me deeply into the story as only a master storyteller can. A Time to Dance is set in India and Shiva is at the center of Veda’s faith. By accompanying Veda on her journey, we can’t help but look at our own beliefs, our strengths, the areas in which we can make higher leaps, learning to bring the audience in our lives to tears because we have expressed understanding and compassion.
As with all of Ms. Venkatraman’s books, I closed the covers reluctantly, knowing that A Time to Dance is a book that has become a part of me, one I will always remember.

In Bed with Books Veda is a compelling heroine who undergoes a complicated personal journey, and Venkatraman's writing is gorgeous. 

Teenreads.com: "the spare writing adds so many layers of complexity and meaning with so few words. Throughout this verse novel, the voice is perfectly honest: the story never shies away from the most challenging or humiliating moments of Veda’s recovery, but it shows Veda’s darkest moments without losing its optimistic core. Veda’s relationships with her family and friends are authentically complicated, with every teenage mishap and embarrassment presented in its own unique context. The detail-rich setting creates a precise and interesting window into life in modern India without being heavy-handed. Most significantly, Veda’s tenacity, determination and growing spirituality are inspiring, as are the stories of other dancing amputees mentioned in the novel.But the novel isn’t just about being a teenage, dancing, Indian amputee. It’s about being a daughter and a granddaughter, a student and a teacher, a friend and (perhaps!) a girlfriend; and it’s about finding inner stillness through outward motion. At its heart, A TIME TO DANCE explores what it means to lose what you love most, and regain it again when you and it have changed for the better."

propernoun.wordpress.com wrote an inspiring and moving piece "I am well aware that if I had been born in a different time or place my life would not be what it is...When I read stories like A Time to Dance, I am reminded of how powerful access to prosthetics can be, how it can truly change people’s lives."

reading.org recommends it as a book about embracing disabilities and differences: "...a story of India, of smells and scents, of dance and determination...(Veda's) struggle takes her to a new place within herself with an awakening about who she is and the future ahead."

http://theabsolutemag.com/13968/ "a powerful and inspiring story ... Using riveting verse, Venkatraman shows how dance can help lost souls find healing and re-connect with their passion for life...Even if you have never taken a dance class before, thanks to Venkatraman's poetic writing, you too will walk away from this novel with a new appreciation for spirituality, culture and the triumph of the human spirit."

iheartyafiction.blogspot.com gave it 5 hearts: "Told entirely in verse, this exploration of faith, resilience, and traditional Indian dance will surely inspire readers to reach for their dreams, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles...easily one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read. I love the verse/writing and the sheer beauty of the setting and characters. It's simply stunning....From the beginning, the writing in this is so beautiful...I really like free verse novels, and this one blew me out of the water. A Time to Dance manages to convey so much depth, detail, and richness into small passages that left me in awe....Veda's character is incredible. Her emotions are so raw and real, and her bravery and strength inspiring. I love the growth she has in finding her peace with her new situation mixed with wonderful details about her culture and how religion often ties into their dance. The chemistry between her and Govinda is so intensely smoldering and their primary physical contact is just in dance (as opposed to intense make out sessions and such)...Overall, I can't recommend this one enough. It's beautiful, insightful, and it's a brilliant read.

Edelweiss Team (Indiebound): Highly recommended…A new novel from Padma Venkatraman always moves to the top of the reading list… this moving novel shows how completely "dance can let you enter another world,” … captures the spirit of love not just of dance but how each of her well drawn characters care for each other.
A TIME TO DANCE, * Booklist's Review of the Day, STARRED!
Online, a gorgeous re-enactment of the cover: fyasummershowdown.tumblr.com

Wonderful citation as a Top 10 character driven book: http://foreverliterary.blogspot.com/2014/10/top-ten-character-driven-books.html?showComment=1412734447862

A Booklist Top 10 art book for youth: http://www.booklistonline.com/ProductInfo.aspx?pid=7114818&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Rabbit Readers Book Club: Stunning novel about spiritual awakening rabbitreaders.com/3/post/2014/10…

Children's Books Heal: This is not a story about disability, but one of ability...This book is a treasure on my bookshelf.http://childrensbooksheal.com/2014/10/13/a-time-fo-dance/

First Book called it a "seriously stellar book" and an "awesome title", listing it in an email blurb along with Kwame Alexander's The Crossover, John Green's Fault in Our Stars, Gary Soto's Novio and Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park. https://www.fbmarketplace.org/a-time-to-dance?utm_source=FBMP-+REVIEW+Teen+Read+Week&utm_campaign=Arjuna+B2S+titles+GPs&utm_medium=email

One of the most moving reviews of A TIME TO DANCE, by a blogger who is one-legged, like Veda, and whose words about her own life are wonderfully inspiring, although she denies it. "I am well aware that if I had been born in a different time or place my life would not be what it is...When I read stories like A Time to Dance, I am reminded of how powerful access to prosthetics can be, how it can truly change people’s lives."
http://propernounblog.wordpress.com/…/the-difference-a-pro…/

An unexpected b'day gift - A TIME TO DANCE is the Calgary Public Library's pick of the month (Nov 2014): "...Veda perseveres and won't let her disability rob her of her passion to dance...an inspiring story ... told lyrically through verse, which beautifully depicts her life as well as what it is like for a middle class family in India. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I found myself rooting for Veda and her passion to dance from the beginning right to the end. I related to every emotion that Veda felt throughout the entire novel..." http://calgarypubliclibrary.com/blogs/teen-zone?p=4458#comments

http://childrensbooksheal.com/2014/10/13/a-time-fo-dance/ : "Padma Venkatraman has woven together a story about loss and resilience of a girl determined to dance once again her beloved Bharatanatyam.  This is not a story about disability, but one of ability. It is about finding the deeper spiritual meaning of the dance over the applause... I highly recommend this beautiful novel... This book is a treasure..."

https://thebookwars.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/verse-novel-review-a-time-to-dance-by-padma-venkatraman/ Nafia Azad: "A Time to Dance is a wonderful reiteration of the beautifully diverse world we live in. It gives us a glimpse of a culture which may be foreign to us and opens for us lives rich with poetry, spirituality and determination. Everyone could benefit from any of these things. I strongly recommend this for your collection/library/pleasure.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Reading from A TIME TO DANCE for Poetry Month

Honored that a middle school in San Antonio, Texas, started off Poetry Month with a marvelous reading of an excerpt from A TIME TO DANCE
https://twitter.com/NISDGarcia/status/583419559706628098

Friday, January 23, 2015

Awards for A TIME TO DANCE

Delighted to share the news that A TIME TO DANCE, which was released to 5 starred reviews (*Kirkus, *Booklist, *VOYA, *SLJ and *BCCB) is an ALA Notable Book!
It has also been honored with other marvelous several awards and citations of many top of yr lists, listed in alphabetical order:
* ALA Notable http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists/ncb
* ALA/Yalsa Best Fiction http://www.ala.org/yalsa/2015-best-fiction-young-adults
* Booklist Editor's Choice Best Books of the Year http://www.booklistonline.com/Booklist-Editors-Choice-Books-for-Youth-2014/pid=7275819
* Booklist Top 10 art books for youth http://www.booklistonline.com/Top-10-Arts-Books-for-Youth-2014-Ilene-Cooper/pid=7114818
* CCBC Choices http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/CCBC_Choices_2015_list.pdf 
* CSML Best Book https://www.facebook.com/pages/Center-for-the-Study-of-Multicultural-Childrens-Literature/238909969517173
* IBBY OUTSTANDING books for young people with disabilities http://www.ibby.org/index.php?id=271
* IRA Notable (NBGS) http://www.clrsig.org/pdfs/2015%20NBGS%20flyer.pdf
* Kirkus Best Books of the Year https://www.kirkusreviews.com/issue/best-of-2014/section/teen/?page=7
*New York Public Library Top 25 http://www.nypl.org/blog/2014/12/05/best-books-teens-year
* Forever Literary Top 10 Character Driven Books http://foreverliterary.blogspot.com/2014/10/top-ten-character-driven-books.html
* Mighty Girl Best Books 2014 http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=8480
* 25 Books by Women to Diversify your Bookshelves http://www.bustle.com/articles/58594-25-books-by-women-to-help-diversify-your-bookshelves-and-expand-your-horizons-because-weneeddiversebooks

Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Process

Thanks to Betty Cotter for inviting me to take part in the My Writing Process Blog Tour! Betty is the author of two novels ROBERTA'S WOODS and THE WINTERS. ROBERTA'S WOODS is set in Rhode Island - in the near future. It's a prophetic take on what may happen quite soon in America; in fact, some of what's predicted in the novel is already happening. THE WINTERS draws us into the recent past, and provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of a Rhode Island clan. You can read Betty's blog at http://swampyankeewoman.wordpress.com


As part of this blog tour, I’ve been asked to answer the following questions:
1) What are you working on?
At the moment, I'm in an ADD mode - working on several different projects: 2 novels for grown-ups, 2 novels for young adults,  and a middle-grade (or younger) fantasy. I usually work this way for a while, waiting for a "voice" to grip me and possess me. At that point, I go from ADD to schizophrenic - I listen as well as I can to the voice, and at some point characters take me over and I feel like I can see a movie in my head, and that's when I know I'm in the writing "zone" and moving toward completion.
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I think one thread that has, thus far, run through my work, is that at some level, the protagonists of my three novels (A TIME TO DANCE, CLIMBING THE STAIRS and ISLAND'S END) all seek to understand their spirituality. In my debut novel (CLIMBING THE STAIRS), this is subtle; in A TIME TO DANCE, it is one of the central themes - after she loses a limb, the protagonist's understanding of life, love, compassion, and faith are deepened, through the power of her art.  
3) Why do you write what you do?
I had a childhood I wouldn't wish on anyone - and parts of my adult life have been rather awful as well. Books were my saving grace. So was writing. I write because I have to. I'd probably go insane if we were forbidden to write. I fell in love with words early on, and although I wandered off into the world of mathematics and science for a while, I'm at last doing what I truly love to do. Writing is my form of meditation, it's catharsis, it is me. 
4) How does your writing process work?
Given that I have a little one, I don't get large chunks of writing time. In summer I get no writing time at all, in fact. My family - my husband and my child -  the family I have chosen to have - is  my top priority. That said, I use whatever time I can to write. I keep a notebook with me at all times - even by my bed at night - to jot down sentences, phrases, paragraphs any time they come to me. I don't chase after stories - I wait for characters to appear. When they do, I open my mind to them, so they can haunt me, and, as I get to the final stages of a novel, they possess me utterly. That's the point at which my family sometimes has to drag me back to this world by literally shaking me. 
Now for the three wonderful writers who'll be following me as part of the My Writing Process Blog Tour:  

Kashmira Sheth, like me, is an Asian American author. She is the author of several critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for young adults (such as KEEPING CORNER) and middle-graders (such as BLUE JASMINE). This versatile woman also writes delightful picture books (such as TIGER IN MY SOUP). Kashmira blogs at http://kashmirasheth.com/blog/
Jody Lisberger's prize-winning fiction has appeared in Confrontation, Fugue, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Lousiville Review and Thema. She is the author of Remember Love, a collection of "ten perfect tales" (the Louisville Courier) that are "first-rate" (the Boston Globe). She is on the faculty of the low-res MFA writing program at Spalding University and blogs at http://jodylis.wordpress.com

Rachel May blogs at www.quiltingwithamodernslant.com. She is the author of QUILITING WITH A MODERN SLANT, which has been hailed as "an encyclopedia of modern quilting" (Publishers Weekly). I'm not good - at all - at any kind of craft, but, May's book (which received a starred review from the Library Journal) is one that "nonquilters...will enjoy" (the Chicago Tribune), for sure!
And, if you'd like to know more about me and my process, here below are a few bloggers who were, recently, kind enough to do wonderful interviews about A TIME TO DANCE:
www.diversityinya.com
umakrishnaswami.org
how-to-write-a-book.com
www.sandrabornstein.com



Monday, May 14, 2012

ISLAND'S END AWARDS

Delighted to report ISLAND'S END is A winner of this year's PATERSON PRIZE for young people and the winner of the SANOC South Asia Book Award (YA category).

 The novel also recd a Julia Ward Howe BOSTON AUTHORS CLUB young readers honor book (finalist) award - and several other honors for which I'm so grateful - an ALA Best Book of the Year, an ALA/Amelia Bloomer List selectcion, a CCBC Best Book of the Year, a BOOKLIST Editor's Choice Best Book for Young Adults, and first honor to arrive and of course thus so treasured - a KIRKUS Best Book of the Year!!!!