"The most life-enhancing book you could ever wish to read" – Michael Morpurgo
Suppose your country began to change. Suppose that without your noticing, it became dangerous for some people to live there any longer. Suppose you found, to your complete surprise, that your own father was one of those people.
That is what happened to Anna in 1933. She was nine years old when it began, too busy to take much notice of political posters, but out of them glared the face of Adolf Hitler, the man who would soon change the whole of Europe - starting with her own small life.
This semi-autobiographical and unforgettable story, from Hay Festival favourite Judith Kerr, was first published more than 45 years ago and has become a much-loved classic. Timely reading at a moment of global change, one year on from this great writer's death.
Read it? Loved it? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #HayBookoftheMonth.
Judith Kerr OBE was born in Berlin. Her family left Germany in 1933 to escape the rising Nazi party, and came to England. She studied at the Central School of Art and later worked as a scriptwriter for the BBC. Judith married the celebrated screenwriter Nigel Kneale in 1954. She left the BBC to look after their two children, who inspired her first picture book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Published in 1968 and never out of print in the fifty years since, it has become a much-loved classic and perennial bestseller. Judith was awarded the Booktrust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, and in 2019 was named Illustrator of the Year at the British Book Awards. Judith died in May 2019 at the age of 95, and her stories continue to entertain and delight generations of children.
Hay Festival's Book of the Month is our monthly recommendation of a title we've loved and think holds added resonance today. While many recommendations celebrate the new, this is a chance to celebrate great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry – new and old – that reaches through time to touch the present.
Throughout the month, we'll share interesting links and articles relating to our selection on social media using #HayBookoftheMonth and invite you all to get involved with your questions and comments.
Over on Hay Player, a special playlist of talks to view online offer additional perspectives on the books from some of the greatest writers and thinkers around the world.
If you'd like to recommend a book for consideration, please email email@example.com.