Goodnight Mister Tom

Michelle Magorian

Goodnight Mister Tom
Penguin Random House Children's UK
United Kingdom
3 August 2021

Goodnight Mister Tom

Michelle Magorian

Young Willie Beech is evacuated to the country as Britain stands on the brink of WW2. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of old Tom Oakley - but his new-found happiness is shattered by a summons from his mother back in London …

Goodnight Mister Tom won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award.



Goodnight Mister Tom follows the life of Willie as he is evacuated from London in the build-up to World War Two. Small and afraid, he blossoms under the kindness of Mister Tom, the gruff old man who takes him in. Mister Tom on the other hand, having isolated himself from the rest of the town ever since his wife passed away, is surprised to find how much he opens up now that Willie is in his care.

Sometimes I think this classic was the inspiration for Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s The War that Saved My Life, which makes it a wonderful way to dive back into the world of Ada and Susan while meeting an entirely new cast of characters. Although the war is definitely a brooding shadow that follows Willie and Mister Tom, this story focuses less on the battles than The War that Saved My Life does, and more on the daily activities of Tom, Willie, and Willie’s newfound friends in the town of Little Weirwold, making it feel a little more light-hearted.

Tom Davies works as a bookseller at Readings Doncaster.

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