The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf
📚 The Boy at the Back of the Class 📚
Author: Onjali Q. Rauf @onjalirauf
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Islamic Content: None. Revolves around a Syrian refugee
Concerns: bullying and physical altercation (the consequences are clear and put in place)
When that empty chair at the back of the class is filled, everything changes. There is so much mystery about Ahmet, the new student. He doesn't talk to anyone, has a special teacher, disappears during recess and lunch but there is something about him that has the group of four to befriend him. Once Ahmet shares his journey of refuge with his classmates, the friends are determined to come up with The Greatest Plan in the World plan to help him reunite with his family.
WOW! I have had this on my bookshelf for over a year and finally was able to read it. I wish I had read it sooner. This book is incredibly well written and plotted. It is narrated in first person through the protagonist that remains nameless for the majority of the book. I was so invested into the book that I didn't even realize it until I was more than halfway into the book. Reading an MG story about a new refugee child joining the classroom through the eyes of his classmates is such a refreshing perspective. The speculations (from kids and adults alike) surrounding Ahmet are cleverly constructed in a child-friendly way without getting overbearing into many details. So much to take away from this story: the fate of refugees, friendships, assumptions, bigotry, hate, acceptance and much more. The story highlights friendship and compassion in such an innocent way. This story makes a perfect book choice that will spark so many beneficial discussions at home or in the classroom.