Torn apart : The Partition of India, 1947 by Swapna Haddow. @SwapnaHaddow : A very moving account of two boys; strangers, thrown together after India gained its independence.

Posted: October 10, 2021 in Intermediate, Primary School
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Torn apart : The Partition of India, 1947

By Swapna Haddow

ISBN 9780702300417

Scholastic UK

I love Swapna’s books and have read quite a number of them now. What I love is the humour. Swapna’s latest book however, is so different from her other works but I love this too. Her ability to make readers laugh is evident to anyone who reads her work, but here, her ability to make readers cry, is equally a strength.

A short novel for older readers and intermediate aged children, this novel tells the story of two boys who are thrown together after India gained independence from the British Crown. What happened after that day in October 1947 was devastating for so many people. India became partitioned and the country was split into India and Pakistan. Muslims were forced to live in Pakistan and the Hindus and Sikhs were to stay behind in India. As people tried to hide or tried to escape, violence broke and out and hundreds of thousands of people died.

The two boys who meet are Ibrahim, a Muslim, who lives in relative luxury, and Amar, an orphan living in the streets. Amar is out for revenge over the death of his friend, and Ibrahim, suddenly separated from his family, is trying to find them. He meets Amar and asks him for help. The soon realise they need each other to survive. There is danger and chaos to be fair, as the recent news of Independence has terrible consequences. The boys share their accounts and points of view in short alternating chapters which works very well. I was able to understand why they made the decisions they did and the fears they felt. Amar is used to the streets, while Ibrahim though bright and studious, is quite naive, but they soon become friends. Street life, unrest, violence is all part of their daily lives now but Ibrahim is ever hopeful of being united with his family. I’m not going to share anymore here as I really don’t want to give away what happens. I will say, I was moved to tears. It is a short but powerful read and I hope to see more of this serious writing style from Swapna. Of course, I still want her funny books too, as they make me smile.

This is most suitable for upper primary and intermediate school readers.

I’ve actually just read another of Swapna’s books and I’m adding a wee review here because there is a bit of a connection with Hinduism, and the Diwali festival.

All about Diwali

By Swapna Haddow

Illustrated by Aditi Kakade Beaufrand

ISBN 9780702309595

Scholastic UK

This is a fun activity book to make and do things during the Diwali Festival. Well, you actually can do the activities anytime, but it is a nice way to focus on the celebrations during this festival.

The first few pages deal with the reasons why people celebrate Diwali and how they spend their time during the festivities and the special food eaten at Diwali time.

There are things to make such as buntings, lanterns, rockets, and heaps of recipes; some I will have to try myself.

The last few pages are nicely decorated with borders around blank lines so that you can write your own notes about how your’e spending your time, who with, or any other special notes you want to write.

A lovely way to record your celebrations.

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