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 Whelan: With 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 Review: Flowing 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:
Horn Book: "Brief lines, powerful images, and motifs of sound communicate Veda's difficult struggle"
"...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"
“...'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…”
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 list: This 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.
|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.
A Booklist Top 10 art book for youth: http://www.booklistonline.com/
Rabbit Readers Book Club: Stunning novel about spiritual awakening rabbitreaders.com/3/post/2014/
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 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."
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.
http://www.24carrotwriting.com/book-picks/a-time-to-dance-by-padma-venkatraman: Padma 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. http://inksisterswrite.blogspot.com/2016/02/a-time-to-read.html#gpluscomments: 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"