The Boy At the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf
Ages: 8 - 12 years
The blurb: 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 even like lemon sherbets, which are my favourites!
But then I learned the truth. Ahmet isn’t strange at all. He’s a Refugee who’s run away from a War. A real one. With bombs and bullies that hurt people. The more I find out about him, the more I want to help.
That’s where my best friends Josie, Micheal and Tom come in. Because together we’re come up with a plan…
Surprising fact: After publishing The Boy At the Back of the Class book, the author, Onjali Q. Raúf, was amazed that there were so many people who love to tell their personal refugee stories and hear how the book inspired them.
Onjali Q. Raúf: “The most touching responses I’ve had are from families – grandparents and parents who have been inspired to read the book thanks to the fantastic little readers in their world,”.
Christopher's review: A brand new school year… An empty chair at the back of the classroom... and a strange unknown new student with lion-like eyes.
The Boy At the Back of the Class is the best book I have read this year and it is truly amazingly terrific to read.
One of the great things I like about this book is that I witness the four children's journeys and their strong friendship towards their new shy friend, Ahmet.
They are; willing to help him many times over, ease him with upcoming trouble & just being there, enjoying & playing around him, as well learning more about him & his unique background, and most importantly welcoming him into the UK. Even though he speaks a completely different language.
Immediately reading through the pages I grew to really liking the main child character, by seeing their; personality, behaviour, inner thoughts, innocent child-like views, never ending growing understanding of the world (as well with the other main children too) and a soft strong will.
While reading this book I slowly grew to appreciate that there are people out there who are willing and able to help anyone around the world. Just by assisting them no matter what; by befriending them, improving their person’s lives and helping anyone in all sorts of different shapes, sizes, wide ages and all kinds of races. Who are being forced to leave their precious home land, that by becoming refugees.
This is a really heartwarming and brilliant book to read. It makes you feel like this was a real event that happened a few long years ago. But still this fiction book is a great reminder that there are things out there that we can’t control, but in the end we know and see that there are people out there who are going to help and welcome you with open arms.
Extra note from Christopher: The themes of this book is; accepting, understanding and knowing each other's story. Even though this is a fictional book, it really relates to our real world refugee issue and the never ending constant problem we are facing now (disease & etc) and still towards our bleak future. But by expressing and continuing to share many people's unique and suffering stories. We get to understand their personal experience even more, so that we could be able to improve and forever continuing to help them in any way we can.
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