This is the official site for my novel, Climbing the Stairs. Here, you will have the opportunity to explore the different threads that were woven into the fabric of my story. You will also find more information about me, links to book reviews, and other resources that relate to the themes in my novel. If you are interested in using Climbing the Stairs as your next book club choice or as a teaching text in your school or university classroom, please explore the menu listed along the top of this page. You may also want to download the free discussion guide, lesson plan suggestion guide and powerpoint containing background information and photographs of the true-life personalities who inspired my novel. Additional teacher resources are listed under the schools and libraries bar above. You will find more information about me and my work under author links above.

Climbing the Stairs is a coming-of-age novel set in India in the 1940’s. It is the story of a young girl’s fight for freedom, mirrored by her nation’s struggle for independence. It is also a story that touches on several other themes through the political and personal complications that confront the main characters when an unexpected tragedy strikes. Although it is a work of historical fiction set in Asia, many of the conflicts that drive the plot forward have relevance for us here in the United States. The characters struggle with issues that confront us today: Should a nation ever go to war? If so, when and why? What is violence and what is nonviolence? Should a person ever act violently? The story of Vidya and her family does not seek to answer these questions, but to raise them through the different characters’ beliefs and actions, and to show different points of view.

I hope that
Climbing the Stairs inspires you to explore the various other threads in the story, represented on the left-side menu bar through each of the main characters.

If you have any comments or questions, please email me or sign my guest book. 

Thank you for your interest in my work,

Padma Venkatraman
Book cover
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“…Climbing the Stairs is the coming-of-age story of a young feminist
who witnesses both violence and peaceful resistance in India
during the WWII era…
Venkatraman achieved her goal of interweaving threads of Indian
culture, diverse religious beliefs, feminism, war and peace into a compelling story…”

Publishers Weekly, “Flying Start”
“An outstanding debut novel.”
                                                 -
Susan Stan, Editor “The World Through Children’s Books”
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“…With Climbing the Stairs Venkatraman fills an important place in historical fiction. The book is well researched, politically balanced, and based on real experiences. Climbing the Stairs is a valuable book because of the way it engenders cultural understanding. It is a primer in Indian culture with its history, religion and traditions...”

Sarah Udall Crandall,
Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy