AMIL AND THE AFTER, by Veera Hiranandani, Kokila, Jan. 23, 2024, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
Amil and the After, by Veera Hiranandani, explores life after the partition of India through the eyes of a boy who was forced to leave Pakistan for India.
At the turn of the new year in 1948, Amil and his family are trying to make a home in India, now independent of British rule.
Both Muslim and Hindu, twelve-year-old Amil is not sure what home means anymore. The memory of the long and difficult journey from their hometown in what is now Pakistan lives with him. And despite having an apartment in Bombay to live in and a school to attend, life in India feels uncertain.
Nisha, his twin sister, suggests that Amil begin to tell his story through drawings meant for their mother, who died when they were just babies. Through Amil, readers witness the unwavering spirit of a young boy trying to make sense of a chaotic world, and find hope for himself and a newly reborn nation. —Synopsis provided by Kokila
Amil and the After is a companion to Newbery Honor The Night Diary, which explores the events leading up to and immediately after the partition through the eyes of Amil’s twin sister, Nisha.
In Amil and the After, readers get a sense of Amil’s world through his thoughts and illustrations. Author Veera Hiranandani captures Amil’s voice through warm and clear prose that confronts the fallout of partition while still capturing the important “little” moments of everyday life.
This historical fiction novel addresses a number of topics that are timely — displaced children, learning disabilities, family dynamics, loneliness and anxiety — while still transporting readers to a different time and place. And laced through it all is a feeling of hope and love.
Amil and the After is a compelling middle-grade read that can be read alone, but will be that much better if read in conjunction with The Night Diary.
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