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WATCH: Fans of all ages meet award-winning children's author

PUBLISHED: 19:00 10 April 2019

Onjali Q Rauf with nine-year-old Noah from Ipswich at her debut book signing for 'Boy at the Back of the Class'.  Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

Onjali Q Rauf with nine-year-old Noah from Ipswich at her debut book signing for 'Boy at the Back of the Class'. Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

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Children as young as three came to Ipswich Waterstones to meet Onjali Q Rauf - the award-winning author behind the popular children's book which follows a Syrian refugee in an English school.

Onjali Rauf met fans of her award-winning book 'Boy at the Back of the Class'. Picture: SOPHIE BARNETTOnjali Rauf met fans of her award-winning book 'Boy at the Back of the Class'. Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

The book store was full of a mix of different people this morning, as young and old came to meet one of this year’s most talked about children’s book writers.

Onjali Q Rauf, an anti-trafficking campaigner who spent years helping families in refugee camps, was signing copies of her debut book ‘The Boy at the Back of the Class’ which has proved to be a real hit in schools across the country.

More than 50 people headed to Waterstones in Ipswich to meet Onjali, whose book scooped the 2019 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, as well as being named as one of the winners of the 2019 Blue Peter Book Awards.

Speaking of her visit, Onjali said: “Ipswich is staggeringly beautiful and this book shop is amazing.

Fans from Ipswich met Onjali Q Rauf, the author behind the award-winning children's book about a Syrain refugee. Picture: SOPHIE BARNETTFans from Ipswich met Onjali Q Rauf, the author behind the award-winning children's book about a Syrain refugee. Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

“I met Noah who read the book last year, and two little girls who had been waiting here over an hour – I’ve had some beautiful feedback and it makes me really happy to know that they are enjoying the story.

“The book is hopefully an answer to some of their questions and will help younger people understand what is going on.”

Members of Suffolk Refugee Support also came down to meet Onjali and shared their experiences with her.

One of the team members said: “The book really ties into the work we do here at Suffolk Refugee Support, and it tells the story so amazingly as it is something we are very familiar with.”

Onjali Rauf met adults and children as she signed her award-winning book at Ipswich Waterstones. Picture: SOPHIE BARNETTOnjali Rauf met adults and children as she signed her award-winning book at Ipswich Waterstones. Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

There were also handmade cupcakes on offer designed by Cake Supreme in Ipswich, which replicate the book’s front cover.

Speaking of the book, the team at Waterstones added: “It’s incredibly important to have a story like this for children as it shows a perspective where there is no prejudice.

“It highlights the importance of friendships and that we are one collective – as sometimes as adults we forget the important things in life.

“It’s been amazing having Onjali in today and we are so glad that she is getting the recognition that she deserves.”

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