Padma Venkatraman is the author of "Born Behind Bars" as well as "The Bridge Home," "A Time to Dance," "Island's End" and "Climbing the Stairs." She is the winner of a WNDB Walter Dean Myers Award, Golden Kite Award, Crystal Kite Award, Nerdy Book Award, two South Asia Book Awards and many other awards and honors. Her novels have been shortlisted for more than 20 state awards, received more than 20 starred reviews, appeared on numerous best book lists, such as the ALA Notable, NYPL Best Book, Kirkus Best Book, Booklist editor's Choice and Junior Library Guild selection. Her poetry has been published in Poetry magazine and elsewhere. Before becoming an author, Dr. Venkatraman spent time under the ocean and in rainforests, served as chief scientist on oceanographic research vessels where she was the only BIPOC female, and also worked as a teacher and diversity director. When she’s not writing, she loves speaking to others about her love for books and her passion for diversity, equity and inclusion and has presented keynote addresses, conducted writing workshops and attended festivals and conferences around the world.