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The Boy At the Back of the Class

The Boy At the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf, and Pippa Curnick

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By Onjali Q. Raúf, and and, Pippa Curnick

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792 reviews


‘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 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…’

On a perfectly ordinary school day, something extraordinary happens: a boy with pale skin, lion eyes and a tattered red rucksack walks in. Unable to speak English and seated at the back of the class, Ahmet ‘the refugee kid’ becomes the perfect target for bullies and rumours alike.

But Ahmet has also captured the attention and empathy of a fellow classmate, who will do anything to help him find his family. Even if that involves a plan – or five, and the Queen herself!

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.

With beautiful illustrations by Pippa Curnick



09 Mar 2024

I enjoyed reading this book on my own. I liked how the new boy was unique to everybody else in his class. Also the chapter 40 winks and how the boy did 40 winks at the boy at the back of the class. When my teacher read it to us there was an emty chair at the back of our class just like in the book. I recmend this book for 7/8/9 +

07 Mar 2024

It is about someone helping a refugee child. It was good and shows that there are kind people in this world. Iwould highly recommend this book.

18 Feb 2024

I love this book

My favourite character is Amhet

It is all about refugees

I would recommend this book to everybody

18 Feb 2024

I really enjoyed reading this book with my mum. It had chapters and I got to understand the difficulties refugees face when they come to another country and have to go to a new school. I liked the way the story was written.

15 Feb 2024

Boy at the Back of the Class was a standout favourite for my Year 4 class (and also my 11 year old son). Suitable for ages 9 and above, this powerful tale captured our hearts with its heartfelt narrative and important themes of empathy and friendship. Through the eyes of the young protagonist, Ahmet, readers embark on a journey of understanding and compassion towards refugees. The genuine portrayal of Ahmet's experiences resonated deeply with my class and son, fostering meaningful discussions about kindness and inclusion. It serves as a reminder of the impact of small acts of kindness and the strength of unity in the face of adversity.

11 Feb 2024

I loved the humour used in this book as it does discuss difficult subject matter. It was a great way of increasing my classes awareness about what a refugee might have been through and develop their empathy.

10 Feb 2024

It is a book about a refugee kid who joins a new school and a young boy who is in his class makes friends with him

29 Jan 2024

I have read the Boy at the back of the class by Onjali Q. Raúf. I thought the book was good because it explains the struggles of refugees. Onjali Q. Raúf visited my school and told us about the reasons she wrote the book. The talk was really inspirational and so was the story of Ahmet, the character in the book. The character of Ahmet was based on the baby of Calais whose name is Raehan. The book is a Blue Peter Best Story winner and I understand why. The book has an outstanding storyline and brilliant descriptive writing.

23 Jan 2024

I have Boyer the jest is a good

23 Jan 2024

I really liked this book because it was really interesting when they met the queen's guards

05 Jan 2024

I loved the book because there's a lot of mysteries and adventure. My favourite character was Alexa [the narrator]. Would definitely recommend it to someone else.

20 Dec 2023

nice i borrowed this book from a teacher

16 Dec 2023

I like Ahmet the best

12 Dec 2023

The boy at the back of the class is a wonderful book! It has lots of suspension and also has great friendship.Alexa is a great friend and she is always looking out for her friends, always.She wanted to help Ahmet to reunite with his parents and she made that happen just because she was looking out for her friends.

12 Dec 2023

Are you a little bit?

10 Dec 2023

I like this book because when Ahmit came to the school he wasn’t treated fairly as he couldn’t communicate well. The person who sat next to him was unkind and spread rumours to make him sad, her name was Clarisa. Alexa who became Ahmits best friend, along with Josie, Tom and Michael they helped look after him and when he learnt to speak more English, he said ‘thank you friends’. They were happy to be his friend, Ahmit told Alexa that his sister died in the sea and his cat ran away. Alexa wanted to help him, she wrote a letter to the queen, asking the queen not to shut the borders and help Ahmits parents get back Ahmit.

04 Dec 2023

Cool! I loved reading this book

18 Nov 2023

I thought it was amazing.This book is incredible and I think everyone should read it.It tells you about a refugee's life and how we can help them.My faverite character was Alexa because she wanted to help Ahmet and try find his family.

24 Oct 2023

This is a beautiful story of determination and friendship. Although the name of the narrator is unknown until the very end, you are engaged with the character. Told from a child's point of view with both emotion and humour. It really highlights the importance of kindness to all. The determination of children to help and support a friend makes this a heart warming read. An important story of the struggles faced by refugees of all ages whilst addressing issues including prejudice and bullying. However, kindness, respect and acceptance overcome these. It was great to read about such determination and hope which lead to a positive ending. A great book to share with young children to discuss issues facing others, encourage acceptance and kindness and develop empathy.

23 Sep 2023

Well deservedly winner of the Blue Peter Best Story award 2019, this book tells the story of children who set out to help their classmate and friend. This entertaining and heartwarming book prompts young (and older) readers to think about issues which go far beyond the classroom: bullying, privilege, security, bereavement, war and compassion.

Lively, appealing characters, plenty of action, a touch of humour - and a heartfelt message.
Absolutely brilliant!

12 Sep 2023

If you like adventure type of books read this!

10 Sep 2023

It is really fun eventful story very unrealistic but cool

10 Sep 2023

I’ve been wanting to read this for a while and got the chance over the summer. A moving and powerful story that explores friendship, prejudice and very topical theme of asylum seeking in a child friendly manner. Loved this one

07 Sep 2023

This book is a fiction book and my favourite character is Micheal as he all makes me laugh the story is about a boy named ahmet that was a refugee and in a different country. Tom and his friends hear about him and have a plan to tell the queen to let more refugees across the border

07 Sep 2023

It was good because it shows people about what refugees go through and what lawyers do to help the situation they are in.

06 Sep 2023

Yes i would recommend this to someone else because it also show and tells us to be kind even if someone is a refugee.

05 Sep 2023

It was really good and it was a very interesting book because it showed how our world really is like because some people can be mean and looking for fame while others are kind and helpful towards other people especially refugees who have escaped from war or any damage happening in their country!

03 Sep 2023

I found this book very engaging and interesting. It really highlights the refugee crisis in a simple yet effective way. It touches upon friendship and kindness with the new friends the boy makes. The main theme which I took away from the book the message of not judging people before you know them.

02 Sep 2023

It was very exiting

02 Sep 2023

Funny, sad and entertaining

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