This is a fictional account of the largest and deadliest mass migrations of people in history. Told in a dual narrative through the eyes of two young boys, Ibrahim and Amar, one a wealthy Muslim and the other a Hindu orphan living on the streets. Despite their differences they form an unlikely friendship to help each other in this violent and dangerous time.
The year is 1947 and the new India and Pakistan are being formed through partition. The story is face-paced, tension filled and at just 116 pages is a short read. However, within those short pages it doesn’t skip on imagery, But the boy’s life story crept into my head like a vine twisting its way through my brain and making roots I couldn’t weed out.
The book includes an Author’s note, timeline and glossary which are helpful in adding more context and information to the story. Swapna Haddow hopes that “in learning from stories of the past we can look beyond what divides us and see that we have more in common that we do differences”.
This is a snapshot of a time in history that is told in an accessible way for young viewers, it’s a read for those who are interested in history, or could be used to highlight diversity acceptance.
Title: 1947 Torn Apart: The Partition of India
Author: Swapna Haddow (lives in Ōtepoti/Dunedin)
Publication: August 2021
Themes: Diversity, civics, historical fiction
Advisory warnings: Violence and death feature heavily throughout, this could be distressing to some young readers.
Would this book work as a read aloud? Yes
Reviewer: Louana McCormack, Librarian, Opaheke School, Auckland
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
Opening sentence: “The British Raj has ruled India since 1858,” the headmaster’s voice boomed over the speakers as he addressed us from the podium.
You can buy this book here