The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
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.
Booklist (February 1, 2018 (Vol. 114, No. 11))
Grades 5-8. 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.