Review and photo by Laura Gardner ~ @LibrarianMsG on Instagram
Thanks to the publisher for this review copy for Kid Lit Exchange. All opinions are my own.
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
(Penguin Kids ~ March 6, 2018)
Nisha, a twelve year old twin who loves to cook and is exceptionally quiet, faces great challenges when she and her family become refugees and must flee the only life they’ve ever known. It’s 1947 and Indian has been freed from British rule, but has also been divided into two countries. Nisha, her twin Amil, her father, and her elderly grandmother are Hindu, but their home is located in what is now Pakistan. They must travel hundreds of miles to India, leaving behind their beloved Muslim cook, Kazi, who is like family, and try to avoid Hindu-Muslim violence in the process. Written entirely in epistolary format, Nisha shares her dreams and fears with her deceased mother in letters in this incredible book.
I love learning about history through fiction! The Night Diary is a beautifully written novel that expertly explores one girl’s complex feelings about faith and family during the Partition of India. Readers will be fascinated to learn about the religious conflict that occurred during this time, as well as the hardship families had to endure. I love that the book is written in letters; the intimate nature of a daughter writing to her mother makes this book all the more powerful. This would make an excellent all-class read (imagine all the curriculum tie-ins!), but I also think students will love this for independent reading.
Essential purchase for all elementary and middle school libraries. Recommended for grades 5+.
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