Orion Children’s Books, part of Hachette Children’s Group, has bought a story about refugees and friendship by debut author Onjali Q. Raúf.
The Boy at the Back of the Class is the story of new boy Ahmet, a refugee from Syria, told from the point of view of an anonymous classmate. Orion acquired world rights, excluding the US and its territories, to two middle grade titles in all languages, in a “significant pre-empt”. The deal was negotiated with Silvia Molteni at PFD.
Editorial director Helen Thomas said: “The second I opened The Boy at the Back of the Class I knew it was something exceptional. Onjali Q. Raúf portrays the refugee crisis through the eyes of a child in a way that’s accessible, warm and funny. It’s a story about friendship and how naturally children celebrate, rather than fear, all our differences. We’re proud to welcome her to the Orion Children’s Books list. She’s an inspirational woman, and we’re absolutely sure her writing will touch hearts and bring joy to many readers.”
The Boy at the Back of the Class will be published in paperback in summer 2018.
Raúf is the founder and c.e.o. of Making Herstory, a human rights organisation, and was previously the campaigns manager for Women for Women International UK.