Just Henry by Michelle Magorian

Just Henry is an engrossing book based around the time of WWII. The book follows the life of a young boy, with a father who died in the war, living with his mother, step-father, gran and younger sister and his days at school and his love of photography.

Due to the stigmatisation which was common in those days and enforced by his grandmother, Henry is tested when partnered with two boys in school as one is a bastard (born when his parents were not married) and the other has a deserter for a father. He also meets a woman whilst trying to get into an age restricted film at the cinema and soon becomes friends with her. Through help from his unlikely friend as well as from his mother, teacher and what he truly believes; Henry becomes friends with these two boys.

He also develops (see what I did there) a love for photography and through help from both his teacher and his unlikely friend he starts taking pictures and learning how to make the best of the limited number of photos.

This love of photography and his close new friendships turn out to be crucial during a plot twist involving his father, gran, sister and a lot of worry.

The twist within this novel will have you glued to the pages as Magorian again manages to reel the reader in and not let go, this novel will grab you from the start and you’ll love learning about life in the post-WWII period as well as seeing the changes which occur at this time and how the characters develop.

Recommended for:

Those who love the WWII era.

This is my favourite era in history, meaning that I fell in love with this book almost instantly. The plot is easy to follow but also interesting and seems to stick to the historical accuracy of the time. The book shows what life was like once the war ended and how the countries landscape was changed, not only physically but mentally as people adjusted to others who were different with more ease.

Age recommendation:

Young Adults+

This book is aimed at ‘young adult’ readers with language and themes which may be slightly too mature for younger readers but which is simple enough that it is understandable. I would suggest that the reading age is around 12+ although this will vary from person to person, and many adults will enjoy this book as I still love it myself after many years.

Sorry for not posting in a while, I’ve had a busy summer! I hope you are all having a great time while the nice(ish) weather lasts!

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Minus Me by Ingelin Rossland

This is an amazing book about a young girls life after she almost passes away at a diving competition. She is brought back by a mysterious boy who keeps appearing when she least expects it. This book will grab you with short, easy to read, chapters and an interesting plot with a major twist at the end.

I managed to finish this book in 2 hours whilst doing other things around the house, it is so absorbing and I would love to re-read this book a million times. Sadly I have an advanced publication meaning I have to return this to my book store where I work but I am contemplating purchasing the book once it is for sale in my store!

Recommended for:


This is very much a teen novel, I can imagine older readers finding the writing style too childish. However for those who like the teen style, such as myself, it is a very good book.

Age recommendation:


This book does have a plot which can upset readers, it made me cry and I’m an adult! So those giving to younger children should probably read this book first to ensure their child is ready to read it.

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

This is a beautiful book about a teenage boy, Christopher, with autism who struggles with every day life as he tries to find out what happened to his neighbour’s dog. In the process he finds out a pot more about the people around him and learns more about the world.

It is a book that you will find so hard to out down and will be over far too soon. It has won awards including the Whitbread book of the year, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and Booktrust Teenage Prize as well as being shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the British Book Awards.

Recommended for:
Although this is a children’s book adults will completely love this book too and should not avoid it just due to the category it is under.

Age recommendation:
12 and over.
This is because the book requires some level of maturity to understand Christopher’s thoughts as they are the thoughts of a 15 year old. It is also written through the eyes of someone who sees the world differently to everyone else and this can be hard for younger readers to understand. However if you feel your child may be mature enough to understand the content in this book then, as always, I recommend you read the book first and decide for yourself.

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I Like This Poem by Kaye Webb

This book is a collection of poems chosen for children aged five to fifteen although people both older and younger than this can still enjoy the poems. It is still one of my favourite books to read when I only have a little time.

It includes poems such as “On The Ning Nang Nong”, “Extremely Naughty Children” and “On A Portrait Of A Deaf Man” which range from childish and funny to mature and thought provoking. This is a book a child could grow up with as they mature themselves and come to understand the poems more.

The poems themselves were picked by children to go in the anthology and have comments by some of the children who selected them at the end. This can provide another view on the poem and can highlight portions which were missed in the initial reading, as well as showing what children really pick up on throughout the poems.

Recommended for:
Young children, any child or teen struggling to get in to reading or anyone who loves poetry.
This will be a book which the child can grow up with and treasure. It may help those struggling to read, either with the practicalities or lack of interest, as the poems are a lot shorter than novels and may grasp their interest more as well as having simple language in the section for younger children making it easier for them to understand. It is also good for anyone who has a love of poems as it will be a lovely addition to their collection as well as being a reminder of some of their favourite childhood poems.

Age recommendation:
Any age.
Anyone who can read will enjoy this collection of funny and thoughtful poems.

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