Amil’s Journey Continues In Veera Hiranandani’s Sequel To Her Newberry Honor Book
India-West Staff Reporter
NEW YORK, NY – Author Veera Hiranandani is set to release her latest novel, “Amil and the After,” (Penguin Young Readers) on January 23, 2024. This novel, which serves as a companion to her Newbery Honor book “The Night Diary,” explores the themes of hope and finding joy after tragedy as it continues the tale following India’s partition.
Set in the early days of 1948, as India transitions to independence from British rule, the story revolves around twelve-year-old Amil, a boy of both Muslim and Hindu heritage. This young protagonist grapples with the concept of home in a rapidly changing world. The memory of the arduous journey from their hometown in what is now Pakistan lingers, and despite finding refuge in an apartment in Bombay and a school to attend, life in India remains shrouded in uncertainty.
Amil’s twin sister, Nisha, suggests a creative outlet for him—telling his story through drawings meant for their mother, who passed away when they were infants. Through Amil’s perspective, readers are given a glimpse into the unwavering spirit of a young boy trying to make sense of a chaotic world and discovering hope not only for himself but for a newly reborn nation.
Hiranandani shed light on the message underlying her work. She explained, “This book is about what happens after—after we survive and experience something life-changing and traumatic.” Written during the second and third years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the author delves into the collective and individual process of healing and transformation after a traumatic event.
Hiranandani’s inspiration for her new book largely stems from her own family history. Her father, grandparents, aunts, and uncles undertook a similar journey as Amil’s family, leaving their homeland to establish a new life in India after the partition.
Hiranandani shares, “Writing historical fiction based on my family background is a way for me to understand something that’s a part of me even though I never experienced it directly.”
Much like in her previous work, “The Night Diary,” Hiranandani shines a light on a piece of global history rarely discussed in American classrooms.