“My mum is up there somewhere. She’s waiting – I can feel it. I just have to find her in time, that’s all… Because when I do, I’ll know the truth about who stole her.”
Following the success of her debut children’s book The Boy at the Back of the Class, award-winning author, Being the Story speaker, member of our spokespersons network and dear friend of sounddelivery Onjali Rauf has just released her second book. Like her first book, The Star Outside My Window is told through the eyes of a child, it is a story that explores the subtle faces and endless impacts of domestic violence and ‘celebrates the power of hope and resilience’.
The Star Outside My Window is a book about adventure, friendship, and resilience that touches on themes of foster care, adoption, bereavement and domestic violence in a sensitive way. In a guardian article last month on representation in children’s books Onjali said “Children’s books are lifelong touchstones and carry messages that ingrain themselves deeply in ways we are only now beginning to understand. Any act to enhance empathy and understanding, do away with the ‘other’ and help diminish fears and prejudice has to begin early.” And that’s exactly what this book does, it shows shared experiences between the characters of the different themes and we’re sure it will be open up important conversations between children, and with their teachers and parents.
This is a story that is very personal to Onjali. In 2011 her aunt was murdered by the husband she had been trying to escape from for over five years, highlighting the systematic failures around the abuse and murders of women in the United Kingdom. Determined to do something in memory of her aunt, Onjali set up Making Herstory. Making Herstory is a non-profit 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. A percentage of the profits from The Star Outside My Window will be used to support Making Herstory.
Onjali is doing what many children’s book writers may shy away from, tackling some of the biggest social issues; the refugee crisis and now domestic violence. It’s so important for children to read these stories alongside parents /carers and start to understand these experiences. Children going through similar things can relate and find comfort from these stories, but also children who haven’t can begin to understand and empathise.
We want to encourage as many people in our network to buy the book and please join in the conversation online using the hashtag #TheStarOutsideMyWindow
Hear Onjali’s story and more about the work of Making Herstory in her Being the Story talk
Find out more about The Star Outside My Window