The Boy at the Back of the Class

30th October 2021
The Boy at the Back of the Class Book Cover The Boy at the Back of the Class
Onjali Q. Raúf

This book is about a girl called Alexa and her friends Tom, Josie, and Michael. They live in England and they are only nine years old.

There used to be an empty seat at the back of their class but one day a new boy arrives and sits there. They are told that his name is Ahmet. Ahmet is a strange boy; he is shy and never speaks to anyone even when they try to speak to him. He also doesn’t join in with them at break-time because he stays inside the whole time. This confuses Alexa and her friends and they begin to feel sorry for the boy and want to become his friends. They start by giving him treats after school but he doesn’t want to take them. However, they don’t give up.

One day Alexa, Josie, Tom, and Michael overhear teachers talking about Ahmet and they learn that he is a refugee child from Syria and that no one speaks his language. They also hear some of the parents outside the school gate spreading lies and being rude about Ahmet and saying that he should be sent back to his homeland.

In the following days Ahmet is bullied by a horrible boy who goes by the nickname of Brendan the bully because Ahmet is different to everyone else. Alexa and her friends soon realise that Ahmet needs a friend now more than ever. The longer they stay with him and look after him, the more they find out about him and his family’s long and treacherous journey from Syria to England.

Eventually Ahmet tells them that on his journey Ahmet’s sister drowned in the Mediterranean Sea and his parents stayed behind in other countries because they burdened him as they were sick and poor. Despite this, Ahmet is still confident that his parents are alive, so upon hearing his story Alexa and her friends realise they must help him. They know that the border is going to close in a couple of weeks and that they need to come up with a plan to find Ahmet’s parents before this deadline, but it is not going to be easy!

Do they come up with a plan in time?

Do they find Ahmet’s parents before the border closes?

Does Ahmet become accepted as a proper member of their class?

Read the book to find out!

We really enjoyed this book and we definitely would give it 5 stars. We recommend this book to 9+ readers but also to adults, as it shows us all as a society that if a group of children can do something anyone can!


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