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The Lion Above the Door

Written by Onjali Q. Raúf

Key Stage 2 Family / Home Stories Historical Fiction Warfare / Battles

LoveReading View on The Lion Above the Door

Exciting story of friendship, discovery and bravery by an author children love

On a school trip to Rochester Cathedral, Leo is astonished to see a World War II memorial to a man with exactly the same name as him, Leo Kai Lim. Who was the Leo commemorated with a golden lion in the cathedral, and could there be a family connection? Determined to find out more, Leo suggests forgotten heroes as the theme for the class project on WWII, and it’s chosen alongside family histories. The project takes on even more significance when the class learn it will be put forward for a national Remembrance Day competition. In his endeavour to find out more about his namesake, Leo is helped by his best friend Sangeeta, who is tracking down information on the part played by Indian soldiers in the war, and thrilled to discover more about the role played by women too. He’s also helped, to his surprise, by Olivia Morris, universally regarded as the coolest kid in school. Leo’s efforts get him into trouble with his parents (a midnight phone call to his Aunty Su in Singapore) and his school (a disastrous, but very funny secret trip to the RAF Museum), but Leo’s determination is overwhelming. When a nasty racist bit of sabotage threatens the project, Leo suddenly finds everyone is on his side, and there are more surprises to come. Onjali Raúf writes superb adventure stories for children, full of excitement and incident, and has a great ear for the way they speak. This story will intrigue and entertain young readers while also helping them understand racism, past and present. It’s not just a really good read, it’s a really important read.

Andrea Reece

The Lion Above the Door Synopsis

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. Following Leo's story, the first edition of this book contains a special collection of historical photos and stories of real life 'forgotten' heroes from World War Two.

The Lion Above the Door Press Reviews

Rauf's latest has a quite brilliant premise in which the bully, not the bullied, tells his tale. A thought-provoking and often very funny story which constantly plays with reader expectations. - i

Praise for The Boy at the Back of the Class;

Raul's book is at once tearjerking and chuckle-inducing and will go a long way to restore faith in human nature. - Sunday Post

Book Information

ISBN: 9781510106758
Publication date: 14th October 2021
Author: Onjali Q. Raúf
Publisher: Orion Children's Books an imprint of Hachette Children's Group
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 320 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 2
Topics: Family / Home Stories, Historical Fiction, Racism / Multi-Culturalism, Warfare / Battles

About Onjali Q. Raúf

Onjali Q. Raúf is the founder of Making Herstory an organisation mobilising men, women and children from all walks of life to tackle the abuse and trafficking of women and girls in the UK and beyond. In her spare time she delivers emergency aid convoys for refugee families surviving in Calais and Dunkirk, and supports interfaith projects. Her first novel, The Boy at the Back of the Class, won the Waterstone's Children's Prize and The Blue Peter Award.

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