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 (outside of school visits) that
 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, Apr 2, library, Derry, NH
- Tues, Apr 5, library, Camden, ME
- Thurs, Apr 7, RRU, Augusta ME
- Sat, Apr 9, Cape Elizabeth Author Fest, ME
- Fri-Sun, Apr 29-May1, NESCBWI, Springfield, MA

-Mon-Wed, May 23-25, Highlights Foundation Workshop, PA

- Sat, 4 June, Verse Novel Workshop, The Writer's Loft, MA
- Thurs-Fri, June 23-24 Ocean State Summer Writing Conference, RI
- Sat, June 25, ALA conference, FL

- Sun, Jul 10, ILA, Boston
- Tues, Jul 12, library, Avon, CT

- Fri-Sun 14-16 Oct, James River Festival, VA 

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 :

Saturday, August 01, 2015

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


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." 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 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. "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." 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." 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." "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." 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:

Wonderful citation as a Top 10 character driven book:

A Booklist Top 10 art book for youth:

Rabbit Readers Book Club: Stunning novel about spiritual awakening…

Children's Books Heal: This is not a story about disability, but one of ability...This book is a treasure on my bookshelf.

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.

One of the most moving reviews of A TIME TO DANCE, by a blogger who is disabled, 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."…/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 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..." : "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..." 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. Venkatraman’s “A Time to Dance”... carries your heart to emotional highs and lows ...a captivating story of hope and renewal. I was eager to turn the pages, entranced by the characters and plot, but I also look forward to revisiting the book to savor each poem for its simplicity, beauty and poignancy...Venkatraman’s novel is a wonderful study in how to use ...well-chosen words ...that lift and carry the reader through their very own emotional arcs, while at the same time pulling the reader poem-by-poem through a greater story arc of character, plot and emotion.  The hum of Padma Venkatraman's verse started on page one...and I felt each word deeply...

So honored it's a staff pick by POLITICS AND PROSE: " Padma Venkatraman vividly portrays contemporary India with its traditions, religious diversity, and emphasis on family. Her use of free verse adds rich texture to the novel as it evokes the musical rhythm of the ancient South Indian dance form. - Mary Alice Garber"