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The Boy At the Back of the Class

On sale

12th July 2018

Price: £7.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781510105010

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WINNER OF THE BLUE PETER BOOK AWARD (UK) 2019
WINNER OF THE WATERSTONES CHILDREN’S BOOK PRIZE (UK) 2019
WINNER OF THE SAKURA MEDAL (JAPAN) 2020
WINNER OF THE CHILDREN’S COWBELL AWARD (SWITZERLAND) 2021
WINNER OF THE PRIX JANUSZ KORCZAK PRIZE (FRANCE) 2022


‘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 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…’


On a perfectly ordinary school day, something extraordinary happens: a boy with pale skin, lion eyes and a tattered red rucksack walks in. Unable to speak English and seated at the back of the class, Ahmet ‘the refugee kid’ becomes the perfect target for bullies and rumours alike.

But Ahmet has also captured the attention and empathy of a fellow classmate, who will do anything to help him find his family. Even if that involves a plan – or five, and the Queen herself!

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.

With beautiful illustrations by Pippa Curnick

*BEAUTIFUL GOLD FOIL ANNIVERSARY EDITION NOW AVAILABLE – FIND IT UNDER ‘ALL FORMATS AND EDITIONS’*

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Reviews

Family Traveller
This is a powerful story about friendship and kindness.
Sunday Post
Raul's book is at once tearjerking and chuckle-inducing and will go a long way to restore faith in human nature.
Angels & Urchins
Bravely tackling the difficult issue of refugees, The Boy At The Back of The Class is about a Syrian refugee arriving in a class in the UK that shows us how children can sometimes get it so much better than adults.
The Mail On Sunday
Rauf's touching debut could hardly be more topical. Syrian refugee Ahmet is struggling to adapt to his new life in London, until our nine-year-old narrator and friends come up with a very clever plan to reunite him with his lost family. Utterly delightful, Rauf's book centres on the importance of friendship and encourages children not to fear those who are different'.
TES
This book's greatest strength is how it conveys the motive nature of its main theme (the refugee crisis) in a way that opens up conversations instead of shutting them down. 'The Boy At The Back of The Class' is not only a well-written book that begs the reader to keep reading, but also one that opens up a dialogue that we need to be having with our young people.
The Guardian
Onjali Raúf's debut, The Boy at the Back of the Class (Orion), illustrated by Pippa Curnick, offers a child's eye view and an ambitious, adventure-filled plot. When a new boy is introduced at school, no one is exactly sure where he has come from; what is a "refugee kid", anyway, and how can Ahmet be helped to feel that he belongs? Though the narrator's voice is overly young at times, this is a lovely, warm-hearted first novel, a celebration of courage and friendship leavened with mischief.

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