Good Night, Mr. Tom Book Poster Image

Good Night, Mr. Tom

(i)

 

A devastatingly powerful, intense tale of abuse and love.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers not only get a classic story here, but they also learn a bit about what happened to London's children during World War II. This might inspire further reading and research.

Positive messages

This is a story about love, and how deep and lasting the bonds we form with others can be.

Positive role models

Mr. Tom loves Willie like a son, offers him love that he never had, and searches for him when he does not hear from the boy.

Violence

Child abuse: the actions aren't shown, but the results are graphically described. Will is forced to return home to his insanely abusive mother. Many extremely intense scenes involving death and abuse and their aftermaths, some very graphic.

Sex

Will notices Carrie is starting to develop. A brief discussion of sex.

Language

Rare, mild.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this award-winning novel about an abused boy who goes to live with a lonely man during the London Blitz is riveting, complex, and an emotional blockbuster of a novel; kids will be laughing, crying, and unable to put it down. There are many extremely intense scenes involving death
and abuse and their aftermaths -- some very graphic. In the end, kids will be moved by the deep bond between Mr. Tom and Willie -- and the story might inspire further reading and research about World War II.

What's the story?

When Willie comes to board with Tom Oakley during World War II's London Blitz, Mr. Tom realizes the boy has been abused. But when Willie's mother sends for him, and Mr. Tom doesn't hear from him again, he goes to London to find out what has happened to the boy. One of the most devastatingly powerful children's novels ever written.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

The story of Willie's recovery from severe abuse is given an unusually rich and vivid setting in this complex, multilayered novel. The book reads like a page-turner, though it is only in the central section, when Tom journeys to London to find Willie, that there is real action and suspense. But the rest is filled with vivid, tender portrayals and set pieces. This is a novel of terrible beauty, of the triumph of the spirit torn from the jaws of violence and tragedy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the difficult material here. What age do you think this book is for? Was there anything you found too intense?

  • This book has won several awards, including the 1982 International Reading Association Children's Book Award and the American Library Association's Notable Children's Books of 1982. Why do you think it is so highly regarded? Does it make a difference to you if a book has won awards or praise?

Book details

Author:Michelle Magorian
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperTrophy
Publication date:January 1, 1981
Number of pages:318
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Award:ALA Best and Notable Books

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Adult Written byvarvar December 6, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byeffsa March 4, 2010

not a great book for MY likings

everything happens in the end of the book and it was quite boring in the middle of the book. some words were too complicated and long so you have to use a dictionary most of the time
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bybookliker February 24, 2010
really cool
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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