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The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani - 8/10

Updated: Feb 26


For Nisha, the summer of 1947 will change everything. World War II has ended, and the British are now letting go of their rule over India. This new freedom s



hould be a good thing, but instead people are fighting. India is being split in two, with a new country called 'Pakistan' forming where Nisha lives. Pakistan is for the Muslims, and everyone else must travel East and migrate to the 'New India'. Join Nisha and her family as they take the perilous trek across the desert, narrated through Nisha's letters to her deceased mother.


AGE RANGE INTERMEDIATE


THEMES

Refugees

India

Pakistan

Letters

Adventure


OVERALL RATING 8/10

The Night Diary is a wonderful introduction to the topic of refugees and religious conflict for older children. The story masterfully treats all sides of the conflict as equal, and leaves the reader in support of all the groups involved. The story is told through letters written in a diary, which are often very insightful to read. It bothered me a little that the diary entries were not realistic, in that they recounted word for word the conversations Nisha had during the day, so it was more like reading chapters of a novel than actual diary entries or letters. My only real issue with the book was that the kids did not act like their stated age. They seemed too young at some times and too old at others. Overall, it was a beautiful and engaging story.


PROS Great intro to the subjects covered


Engaging


Doesn't pit the reader against the other sides of the conflict

Violence and Scariness 4/5 Kids throwing rocks, man given stitches, knife held to child's neck, men fight to death, mention of lots of killing and fighting, though never super graphic. Sex and Romance 0/5 Not present.



CONS Children don't seem the right age


Letters/diary is unrealistic


Emotional Intensity 4/5 Nisha spends much of the book grieving her mother, family is forced to flee the only home they know, child almost dies of dehydration. Drinking and Drugs 0/5 Not present.


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