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The Night Diary Hardcover – March 6, 2018
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Nisha writes to her Muslim mother, who died giving birth to her and her twin brother, Amil, in a diary she receives on their 12th birthday. Through her diary entries, Nisha documents the changes brought about by India's independence from the British. Nisha and Amil live with their Hindu father, paternal grandmother, and the family's Muslim chef, Kazi, and they must flee their city after independence. Hiranandani creates a world full of sensory experiences: "I ate a samosa. I ate it slowly, savoring the crispy outside tingling with the tart green chutney I dipped it in." Readers see the depth of Hiranandani's characters during the family's walk to the border, particularly Nisha's rarely affectionate father who gently cares for her brother and grandmother. Without contrivance, Hiranandani weaves parallels into Nisha's story—Nisha cooking with Kazi and Rashid Uncle, and Rashid Uncle's inability to speak along with Nisha's extreme shyness. She evenly and powerfully communicates the themes of family, faith, humanity, and loss. In the back matter, Hiranandani includes information about how her Indian father's experiences influenced this story and provides a glossary of Indian terms. VERDICT This rich, compelling story, which speaks to the turbulence surrounding India's independence and to the plight of refugees, should be in all libraries serving middle grade readers.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY
“Veera Hiranandani is a master storyteller. This riveting and important book speaks to the power of love in a world divided by hate and raises questions that still need to be asked seventy years after its events took place. Nisha and her story are a part of me now. My question is how do we make this a ‘community read’ for the whole world?”—James Howe, author of The Misfits
“Nisha's sweet, sheltered world disappears overnight when her country splits in two—now Hindus must live in India, Muslims in Pakistan. But Nisha's both. Where can her family be safe? Hiranandani's story is set in an historical time little known to American children, but she tells it in a way that makes it accessible, timely, interesting and real."—Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, author of Newbery Honor–winning The War That Saved My Life
“Veera Hiranandani’s storytelling is exquisite and compelling. For Nisha, like so many of us, home is a complicated place and this heartbreaking and hopeful novel reminds us that even in places where there is great loss and strife, there is deep joy, renewed faith. The Night Diary is a treasure for young readers who are searching for their place in the world, who are determined to bring home with them wherever they go.”—Renée Watson, Piecing Me Together
* "Believable and heartbreaking...A gripping, nuanced story of the human cost of conflict appropriate for both children and adults."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "This rich, compelling story, which speaks to the turbulence surrounding India’s independence and to the plight of refugees, should be in all libraries."—School Library Journal, starred review
* "The diary format gives her story striking intimacy and immediacy, serving as a window into a fraught historical moment as Nisha grapples with issues of identity and the search for a home that remain quite timely."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Hiranandani’s prose shines in both emotion and simple, rich description...A clear, compelling, and deeply felt historical novel."—Booklist
Top customer reviews
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But things take a sudden turn when India gains her independence and tensions between Muslims and Hindus explode into violence. With a mother who was Muslim and a father who is Hindu, Nisha doesn't understand why this is happening. Why people who used to get along, don't anymore. The announcement that India will be split into two separate countries (India and Pakistan) the violence gets worse. Nisha learns that her family is going to have to leave the only home she's ever known because Hindus are no longer welcome in what will soon be Muslim-dominated Pakistan. Heart-broken and confused, Nisha must leave behind most of what she's ever known, including her beloved Kazi. The journey itself is difficult for everyone but meeting her mother's brother offers a spark of hope.
I really enjoyed reading this book and not only because it takes place outside of the United States. Nisha is a fabulous character, who though she's growing up is still a child in many ways. She wants to know what the adults are whispering about, but once she finds out, she doesn't understand it and it scares her. She gets along with her brother most of the time, but they get on each other's nerves sometimes too. And Nisha struggles with her own personal weaknesses as well, including shyness. I appreciated the fact that the problems in Nisha's life aren't all solved by the end of the book. While things are better, her life has still almost completely changed. Yet hope remains alive and well despite all the heartache and changes in Nisha's life.
Most recent customer reviews
This beautiful novel by @veerawrites captured my attention right from the start.Read more