A World Book Day 2020 Author
WINNER OF THE BLUE PETER BOOK AWARD 2019
WINNER OF THE WATERSTONES CHILDREN'S BOOK PRIZE 2019
SHORTLISTED FOR THE JHALAK PRIZE 2019
Told with heart and humour, The Boy at the Back of the Class is a child's perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn't always make sense.
There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it.
He's nine years old (just like me), but he's very strange. He never talks and never smiles and doesn't like sweets - not even lemon sherbets, which are my favourite!
But then I learned the truth: Ahmet really isn't very strange at all. He's a refugee who's run away from a War. A real one. With bombs and fires and bullies that hurt people. And the more I find out about him, the more I want to help.
That's where my best friends Josie, Michael and Tom come in. Because you see, together we've come up with a plan. . .
With beautiful illustrations by Pippa Curnick
When Ahmet, a Syrian refugee, begins attending a suburban London school, he doesn't speak with anyone, but as he gains support through an assistant teacher, a group of students get to know him as a soccer player and friend. As the tensions surrounding refugees and the closing of the country's borders intensifies, Ahmet confides in his new mates that he lost his sister in the journey across the sea and was separated from his parents before his flight to London. With the clock ticking to reunite Ahmet with his family before the borders close, the determined friends go directly to the prime minister and the High Court of Justice to make their plea. Political and cultural undertones are undeniably present in Rauf's timely debut, but it's the themes of kindness, empathy, and tenacity that resonate strongest. Rauf excels at tapping into the thoughts and concerns of contemporary children, providing wholly believable characters who use their voices to help others and create change, as well as offering a safe space for readers to explore and better understand the refugee crisis. Ages 8 12.