Reviews for The Night Diary

by Veera Hiranandani

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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 Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

A quiet, sensitive half Hindu, half Muslim girl tries to make sense of her place in a country literally divided during the India Partition in 1947. Twelve-year-old Nisha has always struggled to express herself to her family and schoolmates, so each night she turns to her diary, where she writes entries to her mother, who passed away when she was a baby. Nisha feels the diary helps make the mother she never knew more real, but it also becomes a tool to bring Nisha's own thoughts and feelings into focus as she sorts through confusion, loss, and terror as her family embarks on a dangerous, forced migration from Pakistan to their new home. Hiranandani's prose shines in both emotion and simple, rich description, especially with regards to Nisha's developing love of cooking. This new passion ties her to the beloved Muslim cook her family left behind, and becomes a way for Nisha to connect to her complicated family, fractured past, and homeland old and new. A clear, compelling, and deeply felt historical novel.--McIntyre, Beth Copyright 2018 Booklist

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 3-7-On her 12th birthday, Nisha receives her first diary from Kazi, the family's cook, presented with prescient words: "he said it was time to start writing things down.someone needs to make a record of the things that will happen because the grown-ups will be too busy." In 1947, the Partition of India brings independence from British rule but cleaves a nation into Pakistan and India. The divisions along religious lines make little sense to Nisha: her father and grandmother are Hindu, her late mother was Muslim, and Kazi is Muslim. When the family is forced to flee from what becomes Pakistan to "the new India," beloved Kazi must stay behind. Facing a complicated future not of her making, Nisha observes, "It's one thing to understand facts and another thing to understand why those facts are facts." With pitch-perfect youthful delivery, Priya Ayyar is an ideal narrator for Nisha's evolution from reluctant and reticent to bold and brave. The addition of Hiranandani's (The Whole Story of Half a Girl) reading of her author's note-in which she reveals her father's family's 1947 exodus along Nisha's family's route from Mirpur Khas to Jodhpur-proves especially gratifying. -VERDICT Recommended for all libraries serving middle grade listeners.-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Half-Hindu, half-Muslim twelve-year-old Nisha's family is forced to leave home after the Partition of India in 1947 places their city in the newly created Muslim state of Pakistan. Hiranandani flawlessly renders a world-altering historical event through the diary of a perceptive child, providing enough detail for readers who may not be familiar with the history while keeping focus on Nisha's arduous literal and emotional journeys. Glos. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

In 1947, Nisha's beloved country is being torn apartand so is her family.Nisha and her twin brother, Amil, celebrate their 12th birthday in their beloved town of Mirpur Khas, India, a month before their country receives independence from the British and splits into India and Pakistan. Painfully shy, Nisha, who lost her mother in childbirth and feels distant from her stern father and her elderly grandmother, is only able to speak freely with the family cook, a Muslim man named Kazi. Although Nisha's mother was Muslim, her family is Hindu, and the riots surrounding Partition soon make it impossible for them to live in their home safely despite their mixed faith. They are forced to leave their townand Kazi. As Nisha and her family make their way across the brand-new border, Nisha learns about her family history, not to mention her own strength. Hiranandani (The Whole Story of Half a Girl, 2013) compassionately portrays one of the bloodiest periods in world history through diary entries Nisha writes to her deceased mother. Nisha's voice is the right mix of innocence and strength, and her transformation is both believable and heartbreaking. Nisha's unflinching critiques of Gandhi, Nehru, and Jinnah are particularly refreshing in their honesty.A gripping, nuanced story of the human cost of conflict appropriate for both children and adults. (Historical fiction. 11-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

After introverted Nisha receives a diary for her 12th birthday, she begins to find her voice as she documents her family's upheaval amid the 1947 Partition of India. Nisha's journal entries, which are addressed to her deceased mother, take on new urgency as she witnesses India being "split in half like a log" along religious lines after gaining independence from Britain. As the daughter of a Hindu father and a Muslim mother, Nisha questions which side of the Indian-Pakistani border to call her own. But when her family is no longer safe in their home in the city of Mirpur Khas (which became part of Pakistan), they set out for "the new India." Hiranandani (The Whole Story of Half a Girl) places Nisha's coming of age against the violent birth of a nation. 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. Ages 8-12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (Mar.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.