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1001 Stories Collection

The Boy at the Back of the Class

1001 The Boy At The Back Of The Class
Added on 17th August 2020

Author Onjali Q Rauf
First published 2018
Publisher Orion Books

Family Identity and fairness School Friends
1001 , Video

There's a new boy in the class - a boy who has just arrived from Syria.

Story

The Boy at the Back of the Class tells the story of Ahmet, an eight-year-old Syrian refugee. He has just joined the class and at first, he seems strange to the rest of the children. He is quiet, shy, and never seems to smile. But gradually, the children get to know him, and they learn how he came to be there and what he was escaping. When they hear that his sister died in the crossing and his parents are missing, they hatch a plan to get help from the Queen...

Why we chose it

The Boy at the Back of the Class tells the story of a refugee through the eyes of a child in his class.A story full of kindness friendship and humour.

Where it came from

Growing up, Rauf loved Frances Hodgson Burnett, Roald Dahl, and Enid Blyton, but she especially loved Tintin for its inclusion of characters that were not white and middle-class. She was inspired to write this story by her experiences volunteering with refugees in Calais and Dunkirk. There she met a Syrian woman, Zainab, and her baby son, Raehan. After leaving, Rauf never saw or heard of them again, but she never stopped thinking of them. One day, she started to imagine Raehan walking into a classroom, and wrote the story in two months.

Where it went next

The Boy at the Back of the Class won the 2019 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award, and it was nominated for the Carnegie Medal Children’s Book Award. It was also shortlisted for the Jhalak prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour, and for Breakthrough Author in the Books Are My Bag awards. Rauf is also the founder of HerStory – a charity set up to help women and girls who have been subjected to abuse, enslavement, and human trafficking.

Associated stories

Rauf has written two further books. The Star Outside My Window (2019) is the story of Amiyah, a young girl who has lost her mother to domestic abuse, and her desire to name a star after her. The Day We Met the Queen (2020) is a follow up to The Boy at the Back of the Class. Now Ahmet is famous and he’s off to meet the Queen!

Added on 17th August 2020

Author Onjali Q Rauf
First published 2018
Publisher Orion Books

Family Identity and fairness School Friends
1001 , Video