Award-winning author Veera Hiranandani visited Woodlands Middle/High School on Thursday, giving a presentation on creative writing and the partition of India in 1947. The author explained how she created the main character of her 2019 Newbery Honor book, The Night Diary, which follows the journey of 12-year-old Nisha and her twin brother, Amil. Hiranandani said that Nisha’s story is really based on her father’s personal experience when India gained independence from the British in 1947. She used authentic stories from her father and weaved them into the context of Nisha’s journey from India to present-day Pakistan. In the story, Nisha’s mother is Muslim and her father is Hindu. But her mother dies during childbirth and Nisha is raised by her father and paternal grandmother. The adults in her life refuse to explain to the children what is happening to their country, so Nisha takes to writing a diary, each entry addressed to her deceased mother. It is in her diary where she finds the strength and solitude to process why the country is being split along religious lines and how to survive the life-threatening events. Woodland’s students entered a raffle to win free copies of the book. Hiranandani signed personal copies and took pictures with students and teachers, including Brendan Gallivan, Director of World Languages, International Baccalaureate Programs & English as a New Language Programs; Dr. Silvia Lloyd, library media specialist; Mandel Holland, social studies teacher; and Susana Torres, English language arts teacher. Hiranandani was also interviewed in the media center TV studio by 10th grader Aiyana Saintil.