The Boy at the Back of the Class Award-winning

by Onjali Q. Rauf (author)

Suitable for 11 - 12 years

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This item has 4 stars of a maximum 5

Rated 4/5 from 9 ratings

6 reviews (Add a review)

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Product description

A World Book Day 2020 Author


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. . .

With beautiful illustrations by Pippa Curnick

Product Details






Orion Children's Books

Date published

July 5th, 2018

Lexile measure

940L Lexiles are the global standard in reading assessment. They are unique as they are able to measure a child and a book on the same scale – ensuring the right book gets to the right child at the right time.

For more details see What is a lexile?.

Accelerated Reader

AR book level: 5.4; Middle years; 9.0 points

Other details

  • 256 pages




  1. ilovebooks
    on 4 November 2020

    Amazing and unputdownable!

    5 stars for this book! I nearly cried when I read it, and I also got so excited! It made me think about refugees from a completely different point of view. Just so good!10/10

  2. Sam Kibuku
    on 14 October 2020


    Such an important read. Books like this engage our children in conversations they should be a part of. Loved it!

    5out of 5
  3. Sarah
    on 22 September 2020

    My 8 y/o loves it

    Heart warming & thought provoking book about kindness, friendship and real-world suffering- written in a way that children can understand and empathise with. It’s funny and a bit off the wall with ‘the plan’. My son has loved reading this at bedtime and often requests 2 or 3 chapters... the grown ups love it too. Really would recommend.

    5out of 5
  4. Niamh bartley
    on 23 April 2020

    Loved it!!

    I have to say I loved reading this to my boys. It's such a lovely story about friendship, kindness, selflessness and courage. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It's so well written. My boys said it was the best story they ever heard, they loved it. I will definitely buy more books from this new Author

    5out of 5
  5. Katie
    on 15 March 2020


    I would like to buy this because I think it is eye catching

  6. Reba Khatun
    on 19 February 2020


    I cried when I read this book. It was so beautifully written and left a positive message.
    A new boy has started at school and the main character is trying to befriend him although he doesn't speak a word of English.
    Cleverly written, with a few twists on the way.

    5out of 5

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What kids think

  1. Kittyluv
    on 11 February 2021

    This book is amazing. I read it in class. I really loved how the author didn’t say if the protagonist was a boy or a girl at one point when the guards caught her when I was deep into the book. My favourite part is when the author makes us thinks it is a boy. This 8s because the protagonist liked tin tin and she also liked a lot of things that a boy would usually like. But when we heard it was a girl, we were confused. With so much detail we couln’t still be able to find the answer. Overall,this was an amazing book and I give it 5 stars. Thank you

    5out of 5

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