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The Lion Above The Door

Book 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.

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.

Our Review Panel says...

Onjali Q Rauf’s loyal fanbase will be pleased to hear of a new novel. True to form, the Lion Above the Door explores important social issues while capturing voices from the younger generation in a most relatable manner.

The story broaches the topic of cultural blindspots in history education, posing questions about the missing and ignored figures from the history topics taught in schools. Young Leo is intrigued to find a WW2 memorial in which he recognises his own name; being of Singaporean heritage he has become used to rarely seeing people like himself reflected in the history books. As Leo and his classmates research their relatives’ roles in the war, important stories come to the surface and it’s up to the children to make sure these histories get the spotlight they deserve.

This is a sincere and timely story that gently turns over themes of prejudice, cultural underrepresentation, racism and the courage to put right societal injustice – while at once holding out the mantle to young readers to invite them to be the catalyst for change.

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