The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf wins the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019

Mar 22, 2019

It is with enormous pleasure we announce Onjali Q. Raúf’s The Boy at the Back of the Class as the winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019. In the year the award marks its 15thanniversary, the winner – as always, chosen by expert booksellers – is a work of exceptional talent by a brilliant emerging voice in children’s writing.

Separated from his family, Syrian refugee Ahmet is alone in a new school and a new country; to those around him he is just the boy at the back of the class.  When a group of children set out to befriend him and learn about his story, they embark on an unexpected, whirlwind adventure.



Bursting with charm, humour and compassion, and featuring wonderful illustrations from Pippa Curnick, The Boy at the Back of the Class is a moving, timely story about understanding and showing kindness to those around us.

‘Our booksellers, one after another, have given The Boy at the Back of the Class the highest and rarest of accolades, that it is a future classic. It is, notwithstanding its urgent contemporary relevance, a book that is funny, generous and vivid. It is a joy to read, and we recommend it unreservedly.’ JAMES DAUNT