The Night Diary

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Modern Age

The Night Diary
Author: Hiranandani, Veera
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Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1947
Geographic Area: Asia
Country: India, Pakistan
Topics: Partition of India
Genre: Fiction
Reading Age: Upper Middle Grade
Format: Novel
Published: 2019

World History > Modern Age > India


"A gripping, nuanced story of the human cost of conflict appropriate for both children and adults." -Kirkus, starred review

In the vein of Inside Out and Back Again and The War That Saved My Life comes a poignant, personal, and hopeful tale of India's partition, and of one girl's journey to find a new home in a divided country

It's 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn't know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it's too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can't imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.

Told through Nisha's letters to her mother, The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl's search for home, for her own identity...and for a hopeful future.

Emily's Review

This is such a beautiful and well-written story about one girl's experiences during the partitioning of India. Nisha is a very endearing character - you can't help but love her. She sees the world with such innocence, even amidst the chaos and upheaval she was living through. I wanted to hug her and tell her everything would be ok, even though clearly, it was not.

While I knew the very basics about the partitioning of India and Pakistan, this was the first time I read historical fiction about it. I especially appreciate that the author chose to write this story based on her own family history.

I also loved that Nisha chose to address her diary to her mother, who died giving birth to her and her twin brother. That element of the story was so beautiful to read. While dealing with the upheaval of a country divided and neighbors turning against you, she was also just a girl wishing for the mother she never had and desperately looking for pieces of her everywhere.

This story was a tear-jerker. Emotional, impactful, and beautiful. I highly recommend picking it up!

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