‘The Night Diary’ by Veera Hiranandani (KS3+)

This is a beautiful book which explores the power of relationships in its many guises. In particular, I loved the relationship Nisha and her twin brother Armil have – how she sees him and the way they complete each other. I loved the relationship Nisha has with cooking too; how it enables her to express herself without having to talk, and her bond with the family chef, Kazi which melted my heart several times over. Their shared experience of cooking traditional Indian food and family recipes awakened my senses each time, and also helped me to appreciate the connection between food and culture so much more. I loved the use of diary entries to understand Nisha’s hopes and fears, and how they keep her close to her mother.

The plight of her family through Nisha’s eyes, helped me learn lots about the aftermath of India’s partition in 1947 and the pain and suffering the displacement of millions of Muslim and Hindu families caused. The experience of Nisha and her family; the constant threat of violence; the fear of the unknown felt even more poignant and relevant given today’s global refugee crisis.

Ms Harrison

I loved that the book was written as letters to her mother who she never knew. It was very emotional and made the re connection with her mother’s family all the more heart-wrenching. I didn’t know anything about the partition of India before I read this book and I think it’s a good introduction to the topic.

Ms Carter-Dunn

I felt like I learned so much about the complex history between India and Pakistan. Nisha’s story may not be one that everyone has experienced but her courage and bravery in the face of adversity is something that the reader can draw hope from. This book is a real tear-jerker.

Ms Sed

Goodness me, this is a beautiful book. I was so inspired by the food references throughout that I made the Sindhi Sai Bhaji recipe in the back the evening after I finished it. Amazing character development between children and father in particular.

Mr Callanan

The risky and dangerous journey in the book felt rather unpredictable to the point where it only got more exciting and ominous that drew me in due to the short and understandable, yet powerful words used to describe emotions and scenery. The book itself has a very limited amount of words on each page but carried a broad meaning in between the lines that made it relatable and real no matter who the reader is. Every last word of a sentence felt like a cliff-hanger and gave me the addiction to carry on. The theme around family and adventure mixed in turned out to make a beautiful, emotional and a shocker of a story.

Marzia Zamani, Year 10

The Night Diary is 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.

There were some really things about the book – I really liked the concept and most of the characters and the well written scenes.

Salman Emaz, Year 10