Book 41 was a gem of a Little Free Library find. Not only is the cover beautiful, but the story within is beautiful as well. I’ve noticed I tend to cling tightly to the books I hope my children will one day read – this is one of them.
The Night Diary
by Veera Hiranandani
Historical Fiction, Diary fiction
Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, The Night Diary is about India’s partition in 1947 as told by 12-year-old Nisha through letters to her late mother. Nisha, half Muslim, half Hindu, is forced to take part in the largest mass migration in history as religious tensions rise between Hindus and Muslims when India gained its independence from British rule and Pakistan was born. Nisha, her father, her twin brother and her grandmother make the dangerous trek from what’s become Pakistan to what remains as India. On the run, they witness violence, experience dehydration and see their world torn apart as they know it.
“It feels scary to talk, because once the words are out, you can’t put them back in. But if you write words and they don’t come out the way you want them to, you can erase them and start over.”-Veera Hanandani, The Night Diary
“At night they take the papers to bed with them and hide them under their mattresses or have Rashid Uncle put them outside. Why don’t they want me to see what I already know now – that the world is broken.”-Veera Hanandani, The Night Diary
Awards (based upon my brief research):
My Overall Rating:
4 – Similar to Wishtree, I would guess this book was written for the 10-12-year-old age range. I did not know that going in but, to be honest, I was grateful for a more innocent view of such a violent time. Told in letters to a family member like The Color Purple, the story is raw and the author did a great job of holding nothing back from a 12-year-old perspective. I’ll admit, I did not know the story of India’s partition previous to reading this book, and this was a great way to learn about it. My heart ached at some parts, and I could not put the book down (I literally read the entire thing in 24 hours). It reminded me of Small Country in that it gave great insight into Nisha’s life before it was torn apart and also The Girl Who Smiled Beads in that she tells the story of her fleeing.
All that goes to say, this book was basically a conglomeration of some really great reads from this past year. I will hold onto it for years to come in the hopes that my own children learn from it – ideally at an earlier age than I did!