Francesca Simon is irritated. It may be more than four decades ago now, but it still rankles that she was denied a batmitzvah. After all, she was a Jewish girl living in California – why did she have to miss out?
"It made me very angry," the author, most famous for creating the best-selling Horrid Henry series, admits, from the calm surroundings of her publishers in London. "We lived in Malibu and neither of my parents wanted to drive me to the synagogue. That was the reason. They drove my younger brother, of course, for his barmitzvah, but not me."
The 61-year-old does not appear to be the kind of person to bear grudges. But this was important then, and clearly still matters now.