The Boy at the Back of the Class

Onjali Q Rauf has written such a stunning book with honesty, courage and facing adversity at the heart of it. A group of friends are enthralled with new student Ahmet, wanting to ask him questions, wondering why he isn’t playing outside and trying to welcome him in their own way.

Sadly not everyone in the school is as welcoming and the friends try to protect Ahmet as much as they can. Trouble inevitably finds Ahmet and he must learn to defend himself.

The main character, Alexis, goes out of her way to encourage Ahmet, to welcome him and to find ways to connect with him. She travels across the city to find one thing she knows he will love, a pomegranate.

This is such a touching, relevant story and something which is happening in many schools around the world. Children like Ahmet are being torn from their homes, escaping to safety, losing family and treasured items along the way. Children, in all their honesty, tackle the situation head on. Speak to the leader and sort out the issue. Ask for help and all will go well.

I love the visit to the store with the man in the jewelled turban whose kindness goes above the expectation, the note to deliver to the guardsman, and the media fanfare that follows the actions of Alexis and Tom.

I know this book has been read, loved and shared many times already and I admit I missed a trick by waiting so long to read it.

I can see this becoming a modern classic and being recommended in every school around the world.

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