The Lion Above the Door

Onjali Q. Rauf

6-9 years
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14 October 2021
320 pages

From Onjali Q. Rauf, the award-winning and best-selling author of The Boy at the Back of the Class, comes an incredible story about missing histories and the concept of a universal family, told with humour and heart.

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.

Touching on themes of historical racism, The Lion Above the Door shines a light on the stories our history books have yet to contain and the power of friendships that can last through generations.

The first edition of this book also contains a special collection of historical photos and stories of real life forgotten heroes from World War Two.

Once an author has attained a degree of shelf space, it seems fair to direct the oxygen of publicity towards lesser-known peers. But a couple of hit authors merit second fanfares. Onjali Q Rauf made a splash with the timely and compassionate 'The Boy At The Back Of The Class' in 2018. Three books later comes 'The Lion Above The Door' (Orion, £7.99) in which intrepid year fours unravel the riddles behind a war memorial in Rochester Cathedral.

Kitty Empire, The Observer

A crackingly good story about family and identity, fitting in and having the courage to stand out.

Marianne Levy, the 'i' newspaper