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The Night Diary (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Many people in America have no idea what the Partition in India was. Although I had some sense of it, this book put into perspective such a tumultuous time with such grace, and all through the eyes of a twelve year old girl. Nisha and her twin brother Amil lost their mother when they were born. Through her diary entries, Nisha writes letters to the mother she lost expressing the things she has trouble saying out loud. She doesn’t understand why no one is supposed to know that her late mother was Muslim while her father is Hindu or how the home she has always known in India is now a new country called Pakistan that her family is no longer welcome in. Following her journey from her old home to what will become her new one in India, Hiranandani explores the meaning of home, family, and just what it means to find your place in the world.

— Elisa

Step into the world of Nisha, a twelve-year old girl living with her twin brother, her father, her grandmother, and Kazi, their cook.  It is 1947, the colonialist British rule is finally ending, and the religious factions within her country are tearing Nisha's world apart. In a series of entries written to her mother who died in childbirth, Nisha contends with the difficulties of a twelve-year old until the partition forces her family to leave their home and separate from those who are now deemed too different to live with.  The journey is dangerous, deadly, and reveals once again the human cost of conflict and hatred. Sadly, this is timely and a powerful way to talk to our kids about what is happening now. 

— Linda

Spring 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List

“The Night Diary is a beautifully written and intimate story about the Partition of India. Nisha's letters carefully explore the changes in herself and her family through one of history's biggest forced displacements. Veera Hiranandani's writing and characterization make this intense (and often overlooked) historical atrocity accessible to young readers. Nisha's longing for her mother and search for personal identity in the midst of political struggle are also universal and timely subjects for our contemporary world. A gorgeous book that readers will fall into from the first page.”
— Johanna Albrecht, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC



"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.

About the Author

Veera Hiranandani, author of the Newbery Honor-winning The Night Diary, earned her MFA in creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author of The Whole Story of Half a Girl, which was named a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and a South Asian Book Award Finalist. A former book editor at Simon & Schuster, she now teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College's Writing Institute and Writopia Lab.

Praise For…

“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

Product Details
ISBN: 9780735228528
ISBN-10: 0735228523
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2019
Pages: 288
Language: English