Onjali Raúf's debut, The Boy at the Back of the Class (Orion), illustrated by Pippa Curnick, offers a child's eye view and an ambitious, adventure-filled plot. When a new boy is introduced at school, no one is exactly sure where he has come from; what is a "refugee kid", anyway, and how can Ahmet be helped to feel that he belongs? Though the narrator's voice is overly young at times, this is a lovely, warm-hearted first novel, a celebration of courage and friendship leavened with mischief.
Raul's book is at once tearjerking and chuckle-inducing and will go a long way to restore faith in human nature.
Onjali Q Rauf at Annual Ad Astra Academy Trust Festival of Education
The Hub, Teesside University
8th Jul 2019 1:35 pm