Onjali Q. Raúf is the founder of Making Herstory, an organisation mobilising men, women and children from all walks of life to tackle the abuse and trafficking of women and girls in the UK and beyond. In her spare time she delivers emergency aid convoys for refugee families surviving in Calais and Dunkirk, and supports interfaith projects. She specialised in Women’s Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and Oxford University respectively.
Onjali’s first novel, The Boy at the Back of the Class, is aimed at middle-graders and it portrays the refugee crisis through the eyes of a child in a warm, funny and moving way. It will be published by Orion Children’s Books in the UK in Summer 2018 and by Delacorte in America in Summer 2019.
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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. . .