cover image The Moon from Dehradun: A Story of Partition

The Moon from Dehradun: A Story of Partition

Shirin Shamsi, illus. by Tarun Lak. Atheneum, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-66590-679-1

As Britain leaves India to its independence, it first divides the subcontinent, requiring that young Azra and her family leave their Indian hometown in this 1947-set story of Partition. Distracted by her baby brother and lacking time to prepare for the train from Dehradun to Lahore (“It’s not safe. We cannot wait another day”), Azra realizes too late that she has left her beloved doll, Gurya, behind. Shamsi’s text balances the deep sadness and disorientation that Azra feels with text that shows the strength and hope she draws from her role as older sibling. Lak’s bustling, thin-lined illustrations depict crowded trains full of similarly worried travelers—a glowing moon above them all—and, as Azra’s family heads toward a residence that others had to flee just as quickly, portray another family making their way toward Azra’s old home. It’s a haunting, history-based arc that powerfully depicts similarities among those made to flee. An author’s note and extensive back matter concludes. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)