2024 FOLD Kids Challenge - May - The FOLD

2024 FOLD Kids Challenge — May

A book based on a true story by a South Asian author

By Ardo Omer

This month, we’re reading books based on true stories by South Asian authors. Starting us off is The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani which is a middle grade novel inspired by the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. We have another middle grade novel by Canadian Tina Athaide about the expulsion of the Indian minority in Uganda in 1972. Lastly, we have a picture book by Canadian author Rina Singh and illustrated by Tara Anand about the story of Rasila Vadher who was Gir Forest’s first female guard.

Real life events and people can be a great source of inspiration for fiction, and nonfiction books about these events can be incredibly enlightening. Use this month to learn something new about history from a South Asian author!

Book cover for The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani. Cover features a night sky with arms outstretched and the title is separating them.
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (Middle Grade)

In the vein of Inside Out and Back Again and The War That Saved My Life comes a poignant, personal, and hopeful tale of India’s partition, and of one girl’s journey to find a new home in a divided country

It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.

Told through Nisha’s letters to her mother, The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl’s search for home, for her own identity…and for a hopeful future.

Author Bio Buy Book
Book cover for Orange for the Sunsets by Tina Athaide. Cover features a sunset and two kids reaching for each other while sitting or standing on the title.
Orange for the Sunsets by Tina Athaide (Middle Grade)
From debut author Tina Athaide comes a soaring tale of empathy, hope, and resilience, as two best friends living under Ugandan President Amin’s divisive rule must examine where—and who—they call home.Perfect for fans of Half from the East and Inside Out and Back Again.Asha and her best friend, Yesofu, never cared about the differences between them: Indian. African. Girl. Boy. Short. Tall.

But when Idi Amin announces that Indians have ninety days to leave the country, suddenly those differences are the only things that people in Entebbe can see—not the shared after-school samosas or Asha cheering for Yesofu at every cricket game.

Determined for her life to stay the same, Asha clings to her world tighter than ever before. But Yesofu is torn, pulled between his friends, his family, and a promise of a better future. Now as neighbors leave and soldiers line the streets, the two friends find that nothing seems sure—not even their friendship.

Tensions between Indians and Africans intensify and the deadline to leave is fast approaching. Could the bravest thing of all be to let each other go?

Author Bio Illustrator Bio Buy Book
Book cover for The Lion Queen: Rasila Vadher, the First Woman Guardian of the Last Asiatic Lions by Rina Singh and Tara Anand. Cover features a woman riding a motorcycle in the grass with a giant lion running alongside her.
The Lion Queen: Rasila Vadher, the First Woman Guardian of the Last Asiatic Lions by Rina Singh and Tara Anand (Picture Book)

Author Rina Singh and illustrator Tara Anand presenta true tale of big cats and even bigger courage in this picture book inspired by the personal story of the Lion Queen, Rasila Vadher, who was Gir Forest’s first female guard.

“Never look a lion in the eyes,” a mother tells her fearless girl. After a field trip to the Gir Forest, the girl learns all about the rare Asiatic lions of India, and from that day on, she dreams of taking care of them when she grows up. But not everyone thinks a girl has a right to such a dream, and so she stifles what she wishes for most, a roar growing inside her. That is, until the day she comes face-to-face with a lion.

This empowering and exciting picture book is inspired by the story of Rasila Vadher, who grew up to become the first woman guardian and real-life Lion Queen at India’s Gir Forest, the very place where she first fell in love with lions.

Author Bio Illustrator Bio Buy Book

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