The Night Diary

The Night Diary

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 dan...

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Title:The Night Diary
Author:Veera Hiranandani
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Night Diary Reviews

  • Sam

    I cried so much...Definitely Ruta Sepetys for middle grade!

  • Clare Lund

    Filled with gorgeous language and vivid imagery, The Night Diary tells the story of one family after India gained its independence from the British Commonwealth in 1947 and was divided into two countries. Nisha's father is Hindu and her late mother was Muslim, leaving Nisha feeling torn when conflict between the two religions intensifies: "Where do Amil and I fit in to all of this hate? Can you hate half a person?" The home she has always known is now part of newly formed Pakistan, which Nisha a

    Filled with gorgeous language and vivid imagery, The Night Diary tells the story of one family after India gained its independence from the British Commonwealth in 1947 and was divided into two countries. Nisha's father is Hindu and her late mother was Muslim, leaving Nisha feeling torn when conflict between the two religions intensifies: "Where do Amil and I fit in to all of this hate? Can you hate half a person?" The home she has always known is now part of newly formed Pakistan, which Nisha and her family must risk everything to leave. Highly recommend for ages 10 and up.

  • Rashika (is tired)

    The book I FUCKING DESERVE.

  • Suze Lavender

    It's 1947 and twelve-year-old Nisha lives in a country that's about to be divided. India's independence is near. When the country is being split in two, becoming Pakistan and India, Nisha and her family are in danger. It's no longer safe for them to stay in Pakistan. Nisha and her brother Amil don't exactly understand where all the fighting and hatred comes from. They're half-Muslim and half-Hindu, why can't they proudly tell anyone about that? Instead they have to leave their home together with

    It's 1947 and twelve-year-old Nisha lives in a country that's about to be divided. India's independence is near. When the country is being split in two, becoming Pakistan and India, Nisha and her family are in danger. It's no longer safe for them to stay in Pakistan. Nisha and her brother Amil don't exactly understand where all the fighting and hatred comes from. They're half-Muslim and half-Hindu, why can't they proudly tell anyone about that? Instead they have to leave their home together with their Papa and grandmother and a long journey on foot is ahead of them. They will encounter many dangers on the way, will they safely reach their destination?

    Nisha's mother passed away. Nisha has found a way to talk to her though. She writes to her mother in her diary every day. She shares her fears, hopes and dreams. Nisha needs her mother more than ever when she loses her home, has to leave a lot of people she loves behind and needs to say goodbye to everything that used to give her comfort. By telling her mother about her worries Nisha becomes braver and finds the courage to get through the difficult time ahead.

    The Night Diary is a beautiful impressive story. Nisha and her family have to leave as quickly as possible, because they are no longer safe in a place that was their home for years. Nisha doesn't have a mother and now she's about to lose her house and several of the people she loves as well. That was heartbreaking to read about. She's a strong and resilient girl though. While she's still trying to understand the situation they're in, she needs all of her strength to survive the terrible road ahead. She never complains and I loved how brave she is. Reaching the border is dangerous and it's a long walk. Finding out if she and her family would safely make it kept me glued to the pages.

    Veera Hiranandani's amazing descriptive writing style makes The Night Diary come to life in an incredible way. Nisha writes to her deceased mother in her diary and can therefore be completely open and honest, which makes it possible to get really close to what she thinks, feels and sees. That makes the story raw and gorgeous at the same time. I loved this structure, it perfectly suits the subject matter. The Night Diary is an absolute must-read. This fantastic thought-provoking book completely blew me away.

  • Lisa

    This book, you guys. Wow. What a treasure. An award contender for sure. I'll be thinking about Nisha for a long time.

  • Donalyn

    Beautiful and heartbreaking. A treasure.

  • Hannah Greendale

    to watch a video review of this book on my channel,

    .

    The year is 1947 and India, now free of British rule, has been split into two countries: India and Pakistan. Because of the divide, tension has erupted between Hindus and Muslims. Twelve-year-old Nisha and her family are Hindu, but her deceased mother was Muslim; Nisha is uncertain where she belongs. When Nisha and her family become refugees, forced to journey alongside thousands of others to a new home, sh

    to watch a video review of this book on my channel,

    .

    The year is 1947 and India, now free of British rule, has been split into two countries: India and Pakistan. Because of the divide, tension has erupted between Hindus and Muslims. Twelve-year-old Nisha and her family are Hindu, but her deceased mother was Muslim; Nisha is uncertain where she belongs. When Nisha and her family become refugees, forced to journey alongside thousands of others to a new home, she charts her arduous trek via letters written every night in her journal – beginning each one, Dear Mama.

    *

    The cultural significance of Nisha’s story is not limited to her record of historical events. While recording her thoughts, Nisha reveals to young readers the many ways in which her life differs from other children around the world. “

    ,”* she explains, and everyone’s varied religions – Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh – are evident “

    ”* On Nisha’s birthday, she receives the diary as a gift “

    .”* In reflecting on the extravagant nature of this gift, the simplicity of her life is most evident.

    *

    Food is central to Nisha’s story. Hiranandani’s descriptions of warm unleavened bread (

    ), spiced split pea and lentil soup (

    ), and potatoes and vegetables deep fried in a seasoned batter (

    ) are liable to make anyone hungry. For Nisha, cooking is a source of comfort; the kitchen is a place where family comes together. When her family has walked for days and faces death by starvation, a simple bowl of rice and lentils is a saving grace – unseasoned food becomes the most wonderful thing she’s ever tasted.

    Comfort found in preparing and eating food sustains Nisha, but it cannot quell her confusion about what’s happening around her. In contemplating her country’s upheaval and the way it has affected her family as well as everyone around her, Nisha explores weighty themes and, through questioning her situation, inadvertently makes powerful assertions.

    *

    *

    *

    Though Nisha’s story is moving, the narrative is limited by the constraints of its epistolary format. As a first-person narrator, Nisha’s voice is occasionally dull and the prose often lacks sparkle. Making up for this are the moments when Nisha’s longing for her mother saturates her letters, making for a sentimental read that will force some readers to reach for a box of tissues.

    *

    Violent content bears mentioning, given the age group of the book’s intended audience (ages 8 to 12). At one point, Nisha is held captive with a knife at her throat. Nisha encounters a man who says, “

    ”* Also, Nisha witnesses several men fighting and describes violent images such as blood, a man with a slashed leg, a man with a gun, a man being stabbed in the chest, a man getting his throat slashed, and people dying.

    is a moving story of a refugee girl’s search for home, identity, and family in a divided country; however, parents are well advised to be mindful of the book’s content before handing it to young readers.

    -

    Special thanks to

    for providing a free copy of

    in exchange for an honest review.

    *Note: All quotes are provided from an uncorrected proof.

  • Sinead (Huntress of Diverse Books)

    I received an ARC of The Night Diary from the UK distributor. I’d actually been interested in this book for quite some time. It’s set at the time of the partition between India and Pakistan, and written for a middle grade audience.

    It’s #ownvoices for Indian representation.

    __

    I love the writing style. It’s written in the form of letters that Nisha addresses to her late mother. This gave the reading experience a very organic feeli

    I received an ARC of The Night Diary from the UK distributor. I’d actually been interested in this book for quite some time. It’s set at the time of the partition between India and Pakistan, and written for a middle grade audience.

    It’s #ownvoices for Indian representation.

    __

    I love the writing style. It’s written in the form of letters that Nisha addresses to her late mother. This gave the reading experience a very organic feeling, as there were different time spans between the letters and the time Nisha had to write a letter made a difference to the detail the letter had. Nisha is a quiet girl, who doesn’t talk much. The trauma of the refugee experience leads to her becoming mute. Thus writing becomes her only tool of communication.

    I don’t know much about the time of the partition, so I felt like I learnt quite a bit through the story.

    Nisha is half-Muslim and half-Hindu. In a time, where the country is being divided by religions, she cannot understand it as she knows she is both. I liked reading her thoughts on this issue.

    It’s a story about borders and how they create new barriers in our hearts and change who we trust. I thought it was an emotional and insightful read.

    __

    A very beautiful book! The Night Diary would be excellent in a classroom setting as the teacher could include lessons on history and the creation of nations, while discussing this book.

    Trigger warnings: violence.

  • Adiba Jaigirdar

    I was super excited about this book but it wasn't as amazing as I had hoped it would be. The format didn't really work for me. The epistolary format just made everything feel a bit distant. There were some really great things about the book as well though - I really liked the concept and most of the characters, and there were some really, really moving and well-written scenes.

    Full review coming soon!

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