Friday, 23 January 2009

"Just Henry" by Michelle Magorian

Michelle Magorian’s book Just Henry is this year’s Costa Children’s Book Award winner beating off stiff competition from Keith Grey’s Ostrich Boys, Saci Lloyd’s The Carbon Diaries 2015 and Broken Soup by Shirley Valentine. The classic Goodnight Mister Tom is probably the best known of her books and is a former Guardian Children’s Fiction award-winner. The Costa Book Awards is the only prize which places children’s books alongside adult’s. The five categories are: First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book. The winner in each category receives £5,000. The children’s book has an equal chance of being named the Book of the Year, in which case it stands to receive a further £25,000. The 2008 winner of the Costa Book of the Year will be announced at an awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 27th January 2009. Whereas Goodnight Mister Tom was set at the beginning of World War 2, Just Henry is set in post-war Britain. It tells the story of a young boy whose only escape from the harshness of life and especially from his annoying step father is going to the cinema. It is there he meets Mrs. Beaumont who also loves films and lends Henry her camera for a school project. Henry’s dead father of whom he’s fiercely proud was a war hero. This pride becomes an obstacle when Henry makes friends with Jeffries whose father deserted. Through his relationship with this boy and another called Pip, Henry learns that friendship is not defined by any rules. He will need his friends when he develops the film in Mrs. Beaumont’s camera because what he discovers will turn his world upside down.

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