Book: Night Diary (2018)
Author: Veera Hiranandani
Genre: MG, Historical (1947)
Newbery Honor Book (2019)
Opening Lines of the Book…
Dear Mama, I know you know what happened today at 6:00 a.m., twelve years ago. How could you not? It was the day we came and you left, but I don’t want to be sad today. I want to be happy and tell you everything. I’ll start at the beginning.
This story is about a family who lives through the partition of India in 1947. While I was aware of this (the reason we have Pakistan vs. India), I found this book helped me understand this in a more real way! THIS is why we have historical fiction. And this book did an amazing job in bringing us to this historical event.
The story is told through Nisha’s diary, in letters to her dead mother, a mother she never knew. Nisha and her twin brother Amil have a Muslim mother and a Hindu father. But as the events of 1947 unfold, that doesn’t help them. The leaders in India have decided to split India into two: Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. Because of their Hindu father, they must leave their home. Suddenly, fear has turned neighbor against neighbor.
After a hard goodbye to their Muslim cook, Nisha and her family set out on a journey to their new home in the new India.
The desert journey was quite moving … so very sad. The family, at one point, runs out of water. You can just FEEL the desperation. And I love how the author brings in Gandhi, not as a character, but as a glimmer of hope for the future; that the whole world hasn’t gone crazy.
So, what did I think about the book as a whole?
I really enjoyed this Newbery Honor book. In fact, I loved it! And while I also very much enjoyed Merci Suarez (Newbery Winner that year), if it had been up to me, I might have voted for this one … probably because of the historical element to the story. I LOVE history!
P.S. That cover is haunting!
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!
Newbery Verdict Reading Challenge: This is a personal challenge for me to read books that have either won the Newbery Medal or are a Newbery Honor book. The Newbery is named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. Since 1922, this annual award has given to the author of the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” A Newbery Honor book is given to the runners-up.
Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday…