Onjali Q. Raúf

Buy your copy of The Boy at the Back of the Class on Amazon.

Onjali Q. Raúf is an award winning and best selling children’s author and activist. Her books are especially noteworthy for helping the children of today understand and deal with a range of issues in a narrative that they can relate to in an engaging way. Her debut book, The Boy at the Back of the Class, was met with critical acclaim whose awards include the 2019 Blue Peter Book Award and Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.

Onjali is the founder of Making Herstory, an organisation that mobilises men, women, and children from all walks of life to pro-actively deal with the abuse and trafficking of women and girls in the UK and beyond. She is also the founder of O’s Refugee Aid Team, an organisation that provides much needed support for refugee families surviving in Calais and Dunkirk.

Her other titles include The Star Outside My Window, The Night Bus Hero, and a followup to The Boy at the Back of the Class, called The Day We Met the Queen.

The Boy at the Back of the Class


There used to be an empty chair at the back of Mrs. Khan’s classroom, but on the third Tuesday of the school year a new kid fills it: nine-year-old Ahmet, a Syrian refugee. The whole class is curious about this new boy–he doesn’t seem to smile, and he doesn’t talk much. But after learning that Ahmet fled a Very Real War” and was separated from his family along the way, a determined group of his classmates band together to concoct the Greatest Idea in the World–a magnificent plan to reunite Ahmet with his loved ones.

Balancing humor and heart, this relatable story about the refugee crisis from the perspective of kids highlights the community-changing potential of standing as an ally and reminds readers that everyone deserves a place to call home.

The Girl at the Front of the Class

10 September 2024

The debut picture book from Onjali Q. Rauf, the bestselling and award-winning author of The Boy at the Back of the Class.

There’s a new girl in my class. She has eyes as wide and as golden as a tiger’s, a face as pale as a glass of milk, and hair as shiny as a mirror. I’d like to be her friend. But she never wants to play with me in the playground or makes sandcastles in the sandpit.

The cleverest people I know say that the new girl is sad because she had to leave her home, her family, her school, her toys, her books and all her friends too.

But I’ve got a plan! There’s something I can do to make her feel better when she’s missing everything she’s left behind…

This heartfelt story about the power of friendship and kindness shows young children what steps they can take to make refugee children feel welcome.

The Letter with the Golden Stamp


From Onjali Q. Raúf, author of The Boy at the Back of the Class, comes another heartfelt story filled with humor. It highlights the struggles of children caring for loved ones, their worries, and the invisible kindness that changes their lives.

Ten-year-old Audrey has a secret she’s terrified social services will discover. She has become an expert actress, pretending everything is fine when she steps outside. No one knows she’s her mom’s nurse, the family’s shopper, and caregiver for her younger siblings.

When her mom’s condition worsens, Audrey is determined to get her to the best doctor. However, this dream requires thousands of dollars. Audrey hatches a plan involving her stamp collection, the postal system, and a famous philatelist. Meanwhile, someone else on the street has a secret mission that will change Audrey’s life and her family’s forever.

Where Magic Grows

Unique Tales of Wonder and Enchantment


Have you heard of the bird that turned to stone? Or the naughty boy who got a frog stuck in his throat? How about the Captain of the Nile with only six toes?

No? Then tuck yourself in and let Onjali Rauf entertain you with her first collection of never-before-told fables of magic and mayhem, beautifully illustrated by Katarzyna Doszla.

From Egypt’s shores where an Axe married a Tree, to Japan’s mountains where dragons and hungry mirrors roam, to the Amazon’s ancient trees with a time-stealing bed, discover new tales inspired by old sayings, everyday objects, and countries of the world.

Written with Onjali’s heart and humor, and inspired by her travels, Where Magic Grows is a compilation of seven original fairy tales celebrating friendship, kindness, and poetry.

Hope on the Horizon


Growing up, there is so much out of our control and so much we can feel helpless about. But together, we can make a difference. In this inspiring and practical handbook, bestselling children’s author and Human Rights campaigner, Onjali Raúf, shares her top ten ways for creating change.

With the help of her favourite fictional characters and some of the most inspiring people she has ever met, Onjali invites readers to dive in and discover everything there is to know about kindness, empathy, friendship and fighting for the things that matter. (Plus cool stuff like X-ray vision and deflecting negative forces.)

Because with a bit of compassion, a big dollop of hope and even the smallest act of kindness, we can all make the world a better place. Hope is on the horizon; you just have to find it.

The Lion Above the Door


Leo and his best friend Sangeeta are the odd ones out in their school. But as Leo’s dad is always telling him, it’s because they’re special. Only thing is, if they’re so special, how come they never see anyone who looks like them in their school history books?

Then, on a class trip to a nearby cathedral, Leo’s attention is drawn to a large marble slab high above the doors of the hall. Right there, bang in the middle of a list of war heroes, Leo finds himself staring at something incredible: his own name.

Desperate to know who this other Leo was, the two friends embark on a search. And together, they begin to uncover missing stories from the past, ones which they are determined to put back into their rightful place in the pages of history.

The Great (Food) Bank Heist


Written with great empathy and Raúf’s trademark humour, The Great (Food) Bank Heist is a moving story that gives a child’s-eye view of the increasing problem of food poverty.

On Thursdays, Nelson, Ashley and Mum head out to the bank. But not just any old bank – the food bank. With its shining tins and packets of food stacked from floor to ceiling, Nelson thinks it’s the best kind of bank there is. But there’s a thief in town, and the shelves of the food bank are getting emptier each day, leaving people hungrier than ever. For the sake of his family and everyone else’s, Nelson needs to make them stop. But can he and his friends really be the ones to catch the bank robber?

The Star Outside My Window


Ten-year-old Aniyah and her little brother Noah find themselves living in foster care after the sudden disappearance of their mum. With her life in disarray, Aniyah knows just one thing for sure: her mum isn’t gone forever.

Aniyah believes that the people with the brightest hearts never truly disappear. They become stars. When scientists discover a new star acting strangely, Aniyah knows it’s really her mum. To make sure everyone else knows, too, she embarks on the adventure of a lifetime–one that involves breaking into the Royal Observatory of London, and meeting the biggest star in Hollywood.

The Day We Met the Queen


Please note that this is a World Book Day 2020 special. Availability may vary.

10-year-old Ahmet has become the Most Famous Refugee Boy in the World.

In fact, he’s so famous even the queen wants to meet him and his four best friends! So they’re off to Buckingham Palace, with a list of questions for her and one special challenge: will she help more refugee children like Ahmet?

But when their journey is unexpectedly interrupted by an old enemy, it will take some quick thinking and an ingenious plan to make it to the palace and the queen on time.

The Night Bus Hero


I’ve been getting into trouble for as long I can remember. Usually I don’t mind ‘cos some of my best, most brilliant ideas have come from sitting in detention.

But recently it feels like no one believes me about anything – even when I’m telling the truth! And it’s only gotten worse since I played a prank on the old man who lives in the park.

Everyone thinks I’m just a bully. They don’t believe I could be a hero.

But I’m going to prove them all wrong…

Choose Love


Written by Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Petr Horácek
Foreword by Onjali Q. Raúf

In this sequence of poems, Nicola Davies’s text and Petr Horácek’s illustrations explore the experiences of refugees forced to leave their homes. Filled with compassion, this work aims to build awareness and empathy for their struggles and promote love as our response.

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