Author: Rauf, Onjali
Reading Grade: 5.4
In the vein of timely titles such as Katherine Applegate's Wishtree and Alan Gratz's Refugee comes a touching, accessible middle-grade debut about the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, as well as the life-changing power of friendship and standing as an ally.
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.
Overall Winner of the 2019 Waterstones Children's Book Prize
Winner of the 2019 Blue Peter Book Award
"Tearjerking and chuckle-inducing. . . . Above all it celebrates the power of kindness." --The Sunday Post (Scotland)
"Inspiring and sweet. . . . This is a beautiful, open-hearted debut from Onjali Q Raúf that should help children be the best they can be and realise the power of kindness." --BookTrust (UK)
"An engaging exploration of the refugee crisis through the eyes of a child." --Readings (Australia)