The Boy At The Back Of The Class by Onjali Q Rauf

True Friendship

The Boy At The Back Of The Class by Onjali Q Rauf is a marvellous debut novel. It is a book that I just could not put down. It is suitable for ages ten years and over. In fact, it is a perfect book for anyone as it highlights the plight of refugees.

The book is written in the first person through the eyes of a nine year old living in London. Her school is a cosmopolitan one where children of all nations welcome the boy at the back of the class.

The only blot on the school landscape is that of the school bullies. We see them through the eyes of a child. We totally understand her thoughts and find her feelings easy to empathise with.

This is a tale of friendship that will go the extra mile in order to help improve a life.

Onjali Q Rauf writes through the eyes of a child, explaining her fears and her questions. There is humor in her words and sometimes well known phrases are heard and misquoted wrongly. “We didn’t say anything after that because sometimes you can tell grown-ups won’t listen to you anymore. Usually they say… ‘I’ve said my peas.’ “

All the characters were well drawn and believable. They were easy to empathise with. As an adult reader, I ‘travelled’ through the book in a dual aspect – as a nine year old, and as an adult looking in.

This is a powerful book that all children (and adults) should read in order to help them to understand there are those who have travelled roads that we know nothing about.

I will leave you with my favourite quote:

“The entire world is full of hearts searching for a place to call home. But refugees … look for peace too.”


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