Veera Hiranandani offers a stunning sequel to 'The Night Diary.'
On this week’s Fully Booked podcast, Veera Hiranandani discusses Amil and the After(Kokila, Jan. 23), a standalone companion to 2019 Newbery Honor recipient The Night Diary, an extraordinary middle-grade novel in which Nisha, an 11-year-old with a talent for the written word, tells the story of her family’s migration during the Partition of India (1947). Amil and the After picks up where The Night Diary leaves off, as the family attempts a fresh start in Bombay (now Mumbai). Told through the eyes of Nisha’s twin, Amil, a boy with a talent for visual art, this stunning work of historical fiction includes abundant illustrations by Prashant Miranda.
Hiranandani is the author of several books for young readers, including The Whole Story of Half a Girl, Phoebe G. Green, andHow To Find What You’re Not Looking For, winner of the 2022 Sydney Taylor and Jane Addams book awards, and finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She teaches in the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at The Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Here’s a bit more from our starred review of Amil and the After:
“After leaving their beloved home in Mirpur Khas, which is now part of the newly created Pakistan, 12-year-old twins Amil and Nisha are living in Bombay with their doctor father, paternal grandmother, and beloved family cook. While Amil (whose late mother was Muslim and father is Hindu) is grateful for their newfound safety, he’s haunted by memories of their flight. Nisha kept a diary during their journey, and when she suggests Amil should draw to express his feelings, he begins sketching the family’s new life.…This book is a masterpiece of nuance, vulnerability, and emotional complexity. Readers with ancestral connections to the Partition will especially appreciate its layered exploration of the lives of survivors, but Hiranandani provides enough context, skillfully woven throughout, that readers of all backgrounds will find it accessible and absorbing.”
Hiranandani says it was too hard to say goodbye to the characters in The Night Diary: She wanted to explore what happened to them after Partition and how they would rebuild their lives. We discuss the Partition of India, the role that historical event played in her own family’s story, and the life and death of Mahatma Gandhi. She describes how Amil expresses himself through drawing—how it empowers him and allows him to connect with Nisha and their late mother. She describes how illustrator Prashant Miranda brought Amil’s drawings to life and recounts meeting Miranda at the Neev Children’s Literature Festival in Bangalore. We talk about glossaries, family relationships, her experience working with the team at Kokila, and much more.
Then editors Laura Simeon, Mahnaz Dar, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick share their top picks in books for the week.
Wander in the Dark by Jumata Emill (Delacorte)
Pepper & Me by Beatrice Alemagna (Hippo Park/Astra Books for Young Readers)
One Nation Under Guns: How Gun Culture Distorts Our History and Threatens Our Democracy by Dominic Erdozain (Crown)
The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan (Marysue Rucci Books)
ALSO MENTIONED ON THIS EPISODE:
Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment, ed. by Angela J. Davis
The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement by Matthew Horace & Ron Harris
Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zeitlow Miller, illus. by Anne Wilsdorf
American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15 by Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson
When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro
THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS:
Always Moving Forward by David A. Jones
Only For the Brave At Heart: Essays Rethinking Race, Crime, and Justice by Leon E. Pettiway
Sherlock Holmes & the Silver Cord by M.K. Wiseman
Echoes in the Stars by Gordon Frisbie
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.