The Night Diary

The Night Diary

Book - 2018
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Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.
Publisher: New York, NY : Dial Books for Young Readers, [2018]
ISBN: 9780735228511
Branch Call Number: J FICTION HIRAN...V
Characteristics: 264 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Notes: Maps printed on endpapers


From Library Staff

Meet Veera Hiranandani, author of the 2019 Newbery Honor Award book, The Night Diary , a poignant and gripping story of a young girl's search for home, her identity and a hopeful future set in the backdrop of Partition in 1947. In addition to the Newbery Honor Award, The Night Diary received the ... Read More »

Gr 5-8–At the dawn of Partition in 1947, when India’s independence from Great Britain also resulted in the creation of the mostly Muslim Pakistan and the largest human migration in history, Nisha writes to her Muslim mother, who died in childbirth, in a diary in which she records the trauma of le... Read More »

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Apr 23, 2019

Two things about this book were a little meh for me: the epistolary format, and seeing world events through the very limited perspective of a twelve year old who doesn't read the news.

What I liked: all the food descriptions, the main characters, the depictions of (dis)ability and grief, the way the plot doesn't shrink from the difficulty of partition but also doesn't turn it into Sorrow Porn or sensationalize Nisha's experiences.

Overall, this is a great book for introducing kids to historical fiction, to keeping a journal, and for discussions around loss and change.

Jan 01, 2019

Veera Hiranandani shows us the turbulent historical period of the Partition of India from the perspective of a young girl, and well balances details of this event and Nisha’s personal thoughts, ideas, and struggles. Her pacing and storytelling is wonderful, and although she keeps the story real, she also keeps it hopeful. Nisha’s story is told with enough detail that readers with little or no knowledge about the Partition of India can understand it, yet the story is still interesting and coherent.

I appreciated how Veera Hiranandani shows us how Nisha recognized the changes in her world, and her wondering what it might be like if things were different, if her mother were alive, or if she could still see people and not try to figure out if they were Muslim or Hindu and if they could stay or had to go.

The Night Diaries is epistolary, written as a series of letters by Nisha. Although I don’t always like stories written in letters, I think this format was a good choice for this story. It allows the author to share details and Nisha’s thoughts and feelings that help us understand her and her time better without feeling like the story is being interrupted.

If you enjoyed Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, or The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Bradley, you will like The Night Diaries. While targeted toward children, The Night Diaries should interest anyone who likes learning about historical events, likes to get to know a character, and appreciates outstanding storytelling.

-Grace @

Dec 14, 2018

It's a simple concept. A girl who has just turned twelve receives a blank book for her birthday. She decides to use it for diary entries -- to her dead mother. As we read those entries we learn more about her and the historical circumstances she becomes a part of. Nisha's father is Hindu and they are living in India before the 1947 partition. The partition happens and now they are in Pakistan -- which has been created for those of the Muslim faith. Nisha's world explodes into chaos and we have a front-row seat. Will Nisha and her family safely immigrate over to the new India where their faith is welcome? What will it take to get there. Read about it in her diary and see tribalism taken to the lowest of lows. A cautionary tale for us all. Highly recommended all beginning at about 5th grade.

ArapahoeErinR May 10, 2018

What do you do when your country falls apart and neighbors now become enemies? Nisha struggles to understand how gaining independence from Britain can tear her country apart and why people of different faiths can no longer live together. This book is as relevant for today's world as it was in 1947 when this story takes place.

CoreneBee Apr 19, 2018

It is not only Nisha's heart that is breaking, but her entire country is being torn apart. The year is 1947 and Nisha is celebrating her twelfth birthday. She receives a diary in which she records her everyday life in India, her worries about her twin brother who is struggling in school, and confides her hopes and dreams to her mother, who passed away the same day she was born. All of these worries seem small when a random stroke of the pen by a British official divides her country in two: a Muslim side and a Hindu side. But Nisha's mother was Muslim and her father is Hindu. Where does she belong? What follows is a breathtaking debut that brings the Partition of India to life in heartbreaking detail. The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani is a must read for historical fiction fans.


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WVMLlibrarianShannon Jan 30, 2019

WVMLlibrarianShannon thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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