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The Night Diary

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  15,396 ratings  ·  2,551 reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 271 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Dial Books
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Amy Nicole Kelley Brady is credited for the jacket illustration and design. It really is beautiful!
Ada Sevener I would say the grade level is around 6th grade mabye 5th.The book is about a family who has to move because half of india is becoming Pakistan it is …moreI would say the grade level is around 6th grade mabye 5th.The book is about a family who has to move because half of india is becoming Pakistan it is written in the formatt of a diary written to her dececed mother.(less)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  15,396 ratings  ·  2,551 reviews

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Rashika (is tired)

(Updating my review with the letter I wrote to my great-grandma as part of the blog tour)

Dear Great-Grandma,

I am not the best at writing letters that are also going to be on display but you know, I am trying. I recently read The Night Diary, which is currently the only book I am calling a favorite of this year and I’ve read 86 books so far. Reading it has made me incredibly pensive because the entire time I was reading it, I kept thinking that I was reading your and gr
Reading_ Tamishly
This book is so damn good!
My heart got cut open; my tears could not stop till the last page.
And I couldn't leave out a word. Yes, it is that good.
The writing style is mesmerizing, simple and full of emotions.
The story has been fictionalized as is mentioned by the author at the end of the book based on the real life events that happened during the time of partition in 1947.
It is so beautifully written that I became aware of my own life so many times while reading the lines feeling so grateful abo
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

The year is 1947 and India, now free of British rule, has been split into two countries: India and Pakistan. Because of the divide, tension has erupted between Hindus and Muslims. Twelve-year-old Nisha and her family are Hindu, but her deceased mother was Muslim; Nisha is uncertain where she belongs. When Nisha and her family become refugees, forced to journey alongside thousands of others to a new home,
“Goodbye, old India.”

A friend of mine recommended this to me since I’ve been wanting to read more middle grade.

It’s a story about a 12-year old, dealing with the loss of her mother through writing letters to her. Amidst the normalcy of her life, things are slowly starting to change in the political sense and Nisha and her family are forced to leave and cross the border to find a place to call home.

It talks about the 1947 Indian partition and these children belonging to both countries as their
destiny ♡ howling libraries
Man... this was so good. The Night Diary is easily one of the best assigned readings I've had in my entire grad degree program, and I'm so glad it was in my curriculum because I'm not sure how quickly I'd have picked it up otherwise. This story broke my heart over and over. This little book really deserves a full review, but sadly, I didn't write it as soon as I finished reading it, and I don't feel like I can do it justice this many months after the fact — and since it pained me a little too mu ...more
I want to hold this book to my heart and never let go.

What an absolutely gorgeous and heartbreaking work of art. Her writing is transcendent- I felt the wind, the dust, smelled the spices, felt the pencil in Nisha's hand! And the story: so vital. So poignant. Millions of people were (and no doubt still are) affected by this, and I am ashamed to say I had never heard of it until a few months ago.

And Nisha, our sweet narrator . . . I love this precious girl! She made me sad, and happy, and hungr
Claude's Bookzone (semi hiatus)
CW: (view spoiler)

Well that was a really well written and emotional middle school novel.

I knew very little about this huge forced migration of so many people during the creation of Pakistan. On finishing I s
Beautiful and heartbreaking. A treasure.
Apr 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Veera Hiranandani had a curious career trajectory leading up to The Night Diary. She'd written at least one easy reader as a licensed commission for Ian Falconer's hugely successful Olivia picture book series, as well as a modestly well-received middle-grade novel (The Whole Story of Half a Girl, published 2012), and the cuisine-centric Phoebe G. Green series of early chapter books. The Night Diary was her first work of historical fiction, and earned Ms. Hiranandani a 2019 Newbery Honor. Never h ...more
Deacon Tom F
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s a truly outstanding book. It is about the separation of India into two parts. This separation was as a result of religious differences between the Hindus and the Muslims.

It is chilling how it reminds me of the same type of religious conflict that we see today. Hundreds of thousands died, it caused a tremendous amount of disruption and resulted in refugees camps to sprout up.

A very good book
Faroukh Naseem
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most intriguing takeaway for me while reading this book is that you don’t need an adult narrator or a very intelligent sounding narrative to make a point and garner empathy towards people who have suffered atrocities.
#theguywiththebookreview presents The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
Review contains inconsequential spoilers
Quick summary is that our protagonist is a 12 year old girl with a twin brother, their mother died while giving birth to them. They live with their father and grandmo
Karen Witzler
Very good YA look at the immediate aftermath 0f the partition of India. This is historical, yet fearfully relevant to our present global crisis, with so many children having experienced that same dark road that Nisha and Amil were forced to travel in 1947.

Some violence. Good for ages 10 and older. A hopeful ending and treads lightly enough that it may be a good read even for present- day children who have experienced similar harrowing ordeals.

Particulars of this story: Nisha is a diarist and a g
"I want to know who I can blame, Mama, for the nightmares that wake me up every night now. It must be someone’s fault. Maybe I’ll blame everyone."

Finally a historical fiction Newbery Award nominee published within the last ten years, that is worthy of the distinction.

Nisha is half Muslim on her mother's side and half Hindu on her father's side. When Great Britian grants independence to India in 1947, many years of tensions between the different religious groups erupts into violence and the coun
I was super excited about this book but it wasn't as amazing as I had hoped it would be. The format didn't really work for me. The epistolary format just made everything feel a bit distant. There were some really great things about the book as well though - I really liked the concept and most of the characters, and there were some really, really moving and well-written scenes.

Full review coming soon!
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
This was just ok. The diary format didn’t work for me - maybe if shorter entries written to her mother had been interspersed with the story I would have enjoyed it more. The outstanding thing about this book was the setting and time period.
Stella❤️ 孔凡星
3.5* Very impactful story. I can’t say I know much about the topic but it was nice to experience this piece of history from an eleven-year-old’s perspective, who had a connection to both sides.
Rida Imran
The cover is beautiful. Being from Pakistan while I've heard a lot of partition stories, I've never read any.. ...more
Krista Regester
Jun 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It feels scary to talk, because once the words are out, you can’t put them back in. But if you write words and they don’t come out the way you want them to, you can erase them and start over.
Nav (she/her) 🌧
I first heard about The Night Diary during an Owlcrate video a few months ago and seeing as I'm Indian and this book is set during the period when India gained their independence I knew this was an absolute must read for me!

This book follows a twelve year old girl called Nisha who together with her family are forced to leave their home following the partition of India. When the family end up on the Pakistan side they decide to attempt to travel by foot and train to the new India.

Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in 1947, Hiranandani's book describes the traumatic end of British rule and the Partition, whereby India was divided into two countries. Young Nisha is the daughter of a doctor in what has become Pakistan, where his Hindu religion is suddenly rejected; however, his deceased wife was Muslim, leaving Nisha and her brother Amil in limbo. Along with their grandmother, they start a refugee trek to India, leaving behind their loyal and beloved housekeeper, who is also Muslim. Meeting and getting t ...more
Suze Lavender
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's 1947 and twelve-year-old Nisha lives in a country that's about to be divided. India's independence is near. When the country is being split in two, becoming Pakistan and India, Nisha and her family are in danger. It's no longer safe for them to stay in Pakistan. Nisha and her brother Amil don't exactly understand where all the fighting and hatred comes from. They're half-Muslim and half-Hindu, why can't they proudly tell anyone about that? Instead they have to leave their home together with ...more
Told from the point of view of a 11-year old Nisha through her diary entries, which are addressed to her dead mother, this is a really interesting way to relate a little of the confusion, frustration, fear and sadness experienced during of India’s Partition in 1947. People were suddenly told to leave their homes and towns and travel many kilometres away to start their lives over again, amidst an atmosphere of unexpected anger and religious hatred amongst people who had lived together for years. ...more
What a beauty of a book! The best thing about this book is the writing: Hiranandani's writing teleports you to 1947 India/Pakistan. I felt I really understood the family's day to day life and that was lovely for me (I don't know if I've ever read a book set in India). The main character, Nisha, is so wise and kind-hearted. She questions those in power in a way that felt natural and not like I was being fed a history lesson. The book is formatted as letters Nisha writes to her mother; that lets t ...more
Chelsea slytherink
I picked up The Night Diary because my friend Laura @ Green Tea & Paperbacks loved it and I recently had a wonderful experience reading Amal Unbound, another diverse middle grade novel. While I wouldn’t say that middle grade is my favourite genre, I do like to read it from time to time.

The Night Diary did not disappoint. I listened to the audiobook, which happened to be narrated by the same narrator of Amal Unbound! I absolutely love their voice and would listen to every book they’ve worked on.

Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Interesting book but very slow. It was nice listening to it and the narrator was good but I wasn't in a hurry to pick it up once I put it down. ...more
Sinead Anja (Huntress of Diverse Books)
Check out my book blog for more book reviews and other bookish posts!

I received an ARC of The Night Diary from the UK distributor. I’d actually been interested in this book for quite some time. It’s set at the time of the partition between India and Pakistan, and written for a middle grade audience.

It’s #ownvoices for Indian representation.


I love the writing style. It’s written in the form of letters that Nisha addresses to her late mother. This gave the reading experience a very organic feeli
Lindsay Nixon
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It’s an Indian/Hindu/Muslim cousin to The Hate You Give

I highly recommend the audio book for the beautiful accents.

my first takeaway was “when will be ever learn?”

My second was “I leaned nothing in European history class” / omg our history books are seriously washed in toxic white patriarchy paint

My third was “EVERYONE READ THIS!” It takes place in 1947 and is still accurate today 😞

Great choice for a book club—many wonderful issues to talk about!

Sherry Guice
This is an amazing story!!! Told in letters to her mother (who is dead) as a diary, the reader is taken through the history of the division of India into India and Pakistan. Great characters, suspense and adventure interwoven into a story of a family caught in the midst of horrendous cultural/political strife--Hindus against Muslims.
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, you guys. Wow. What a treasure. An award contender for sure. I'll be thinking about Nisha for a long time. ...more
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Reflecting on The Night Diary 2 9 May 25, 2020 05:47AM  
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Veera Hiranandani is the author of THE NIGHT DIARY, THE WHOLE STORY OF HALF A GIRL, and the chapter book series, PHOEBE G. GREEN. She has an MFA in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College and spent six years as a book editor. She now teaches creative writing at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York with her family. She is working on her next novel.

Articles featuring this book

  Ellen Oh is an award-winning author of middle grade and young adult novels, including The Dragon Egg Princess, A Thousand Beginnings and...
115 likes · 35 comments
“It feels scary to talk, because once the words are out, you can’t put them back in. But if you write words and they don’t come out the way you want them to, you can erase them and start over.” 13 likes
“When you divide people, they take sides.” 9 likes
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