The Star Outside my Window

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 6 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

Wow! What a story! Onjali Rauf has done it again. This book made me weep, laugh and smile and I honestly couldn't put it down. Sensitively written through the eyes of a child, Rauf opened my eyes to experiences many children face. 

Anyiah has always wanted to be a star-hunter. She looks out of the window each night and maps the stars that she can see. But now she's looking for a new star. Her mum has always told her that people with good hearts become stars and look down on the people they leave behind. And now her mum is one of those stars. She heard the explosion as her mum's heart became a star so she must be up there somewhere. Placed into the foster care system with her brother, Aniyah initially finds her voice has disappeared. She has so much she wants to say, but can't. Then a new star is spotted in the sky. It makes the news and a competition is launched to name the star. Aniyah knows the star must be her mum trying to find her and with the help of her foster brothers sets out on a race to reach the Royal Observatory in London to make sure the star is given the right name.

This story sensitively broaches the subject of domestic violence and the impact this can have on children. Aniyah, Noah and their foster brothers each have experience of violence in their homes before they entered the foster care system and their stories are shared as the book progresses. It expresses the confusion, unease and sadness that children can feel when their lives are turned upside down by events out of their control. 
Children who read this book will be taken on a journey with Aniyah and her new family as she learns that even when things seem dark there is hope to be found. 

I would definitely share this book as a class novel, or book club book with 9-11 year olds, though would urge  teachers to read it themselves first and be aware of any children who this story might resonate with on a personal level.

If I could give more than 5 stars for this book I would! It is one that will stay with me for a long time and as a teacher has taught me a lot about the effects that domestic violence, and events following, can have on young people. I have already been out and bought my own copy of the book and have been recommending it to other teachers in school.

I received an eARC of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Another fantastic book from Onjali. A sensitive portrayal of a difficult subject to tackle in a middle-grade novel. Her characters have such honest voices  with the dialogue believable and true to life. I loved the use of stars.
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Onjali Q. Rauf has done it again! Another book that will awaken the social conscience of the reader and help them to see the injustice and pain there is in the lives of many, many people.  The story gradually unravels to let us, the reader, learn more about Aniyah and Noah’s past. We see it through Aniyah”s eyes and watch as she gradually learns the truth. How I wished I could spare her that pain or wrap her up in a big hug..

We learn snippets of the stories of her foster brothers and sisters and even that of her foster mother. The ugly monster of domestic abuse has reared its head in all their lives and the author tackles this with just enough detail to make the child reader aware, but not enough to cause trauma. A fine balance which is very well done.

The children are in a race against time to give Aniyah and Noah’s mother the honour she deserves.. This involves an epic trek across country to get back to London. Bikes, coaches, walking and bad weather either help or hinder these star hunters as they battle the deadline.

The story shows the courage, resilience, friendship, and love of the group of children who have been placed in a foster home together and then support each other to stop a mistake from being made. 

Aniyah's word speak for all those children out there who live their lives witnessing and part of a dark world and are trying to make sense of it. These words resonant and need to be heard. 

I thoroughly recommend this book, but be prepared to feel a rollercoaster of emotions and to shed tears along the way..
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This has been a highly awaited book by many in the blogging, teaching and publishing world.  Onjali Q Rauf has a superb gift for storytelling and for not shying away from tough topics,  The Boy at the Back of the Class is an award winning debut tackling refugees and their plight in new unfamiliar places.  It was met with applause as so many of us have refugees in our schools and we love what they add to the culture.
The Star Outside my Window is powerful and heartbreaking at times, but the overriding message is one of family, courage and love. 
Aniyah and Noah are living in a foster home and chapter by chapter we learn about their father and his strict rules, the moving of furniture and the fear in their mother.  Aniyah is a star hunter and knows that special people become stars when they leave Earth, and so the appearance of a strange new star is all Aniyah needs as proof of her mother having gone to the stars.
An adventure and race against time to get back to London to name the star takes Aniyah, Noah and foster brothers Travis and Ben away from their foster mother Mrs Iwuchukwu.   The city is looking for the children and want to protect them but Aniyah must get to the Observatory in time.  
The bravery Aniyah and her family have in the face of domestic abuse is incredible.  The resilience and determination in her are inspiring and the love she has for her little brother is selfless.  She is a wonderful character and when the reality of her new situation hits her, it had me crying and wanting to hug her. 
What an incredible story and perhaps it will serve as a message to children to be resilient, determined and to know there is help out there.  
Just wonderful!
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