An update from our twenty-third Book Club meeting!
At our first Book Club meeting of 2021, on January 30, the Stone Soup Book Club discussed The Night Diary, by Veera Hiranandani. The Night Diary tells the story of a half-Hindu, half-Muslim girl named Nisha during the separation of India and Pakistan, and is written through letters from Nisha to her mother, who died when Nisha was born.
Our meeting consisted of over forty kids from across the US, Canada, and Europe, and we were very lucky to be joined for the first twenty minutes of Book Club by Veera Hiranandani, author of The Night Diary! We were able to ask her a variety of questions, from how she decided to be a writer, to the amount of research she had to do in order to write her book, to the impact of cooking and food in the story. She told us how she was inspired by her grandfather’s experiences in India, and how she herself feels that food can connect her to her culture. Thank you very much, Ms. Hiranandani, for joining us!
After Ms. Hiranandani’s visit, we broke into small groups to discuss what we enjoyed about her visit, and then regrouped to have a conversation about the role of letters written by Nisha to her mother in the book. Overall, we agreed that the book was very good as an epistolary novel (that is, written through letters), and we talked about some of the challenges of writing that way, such as making sure the dates on the letters line up!
Next, we went into four breakout rooms (led by myself, Laura, and two of our older participants, Maddy N. and Lucy) to talk overall about the book, including the characters, settings, and themes. We discussed the complexity of the characters, as well as how vivid some of the scenes were, and most of us agreed that before this book, we had not known much about the separation of India and Pakistan, and that The Night Diary had taught us a lot!
Finally, we chose our next book, which is listed below.
The Thing About Jellyfish, Ali Benjamin