TO coincide with Michelle Magorian’s appearance at this year’s Hay Festival, we’ve chosen one of her books for our May Book Group choice.

From the author of the acclaimed Goodnight Mister Tom, Just Henry has a mystery at its heart, one that has the potential to change Henry’s life in ways he couldn’t imagine.

It’s 1949 and Henry is missing his father, who died a war hero, and has no time for his step-sister or his step-father. The only person who seems to care, and to miss his dad as much as he does, is Gran, who is firmly in Henry’s camp.

As often as he can Henry escapes the confines of home for the dark of the cinema, where he loses himself in his passion for films. Meanwhile, at school, Mr Finch has launched a project looking at life 50 years ago and Henry, to his horror, has been put into a group with Jeffries and Morgan, the class’s two outsiders, to explore the early days of film.

Jeffries’ father was a deserter and Morgan’s unforgivable crime is to have been born ‘on the wrong side of the blanket’. But working with them, Henry slowly discovers that nothing is as black and white as he (and Gran) think.

Just Henry is one of those wonderful children’s books that rewards the adult reader with a sensitive, thoughtful and gripping storyline, beautiful writing and clearly defined characters.

About the author

Michelle Magorian, was born in 1947 and spent a lot of her childhood in Singapore and Australia before returning to England when she was nine.

At 19, she went to the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, going on to study with the legendary mime artist Marcel Marceau. While working as an actress she began writing short stories, and wrote Goodnight Mister Tom in a creative writing class. The novel, her first, won the Guardian Award for Children’s Fiction and the International Reading Association Award. Just Henry won the children’s category in the 2008 Costa Book Awards.

How to order

Just Henry, offer price £7.59, and Goodnight Mister Tom, offer price £7.59, post and packing free.

To order, call the Hereford Times Bookshop on 08430 6000399 or send your cheque or postal order made payable to Hereford Times Bookshop to: Hereford Times Bookshop, PO Box 60, Helston, TR13 0TP. Allow seven to 10 working days for delivery. Titles supplied subject to availability. Order online at