Guest Blog from Onjali Q. Rauf

Author Onjali Q. Raúf

It can be hard when kids ask us why we have war, poverty and injustice, and what we can do about it. As adults, we certainly don't have all the answers.

With her first non-fiction book, bestselling children's author and Human Rights campaigner, Onjali Raúf, is here to help. Hope on the Horizon is an inspiring and practical, illustrated handbook that helps readers channel their fears and frustrations into positive action to combat those feelings of helplessness.

Read on to hear more from Onjali about the book, and why this is her rallying call to every child that has ever felt hopeless, in her guest blog. 

(Photo credit Rehan Jamil)

Toppsta
2022-05-20
Guest Blog from Onjali Q. Rauf

guest blog from onjali Q. Rauf

Hope.

In a world so engulfed by unbearable wars, polarised views, corruptions, climate change, increasing austerity, food poverty and energy crises - all whilst still reeling from a global pandemic, Hope can seem a fragile little thing, too small to survive. At a time when we all need it most.

But this tiny little word, so small and so underestimated, has a backbone of steel - the kind of steel Superman would be proud to possess.

Having been lucky enough to have toured hundreds of schools over the past few years, talking about topics close to my heart but which are deeply devastating to have to explore with children as young as six - such as the refugee crisis, homelessness, domestic violence and most recently, historical and present day racisms - I am often struck by not just the incredible questions children ask about what they can do to change things for the better, but how I feel, as an author, after leaving them.

Because never do I feel the force of hope-for-better-days ahead more strongly than I do when I have just been with a group of children, all hungry and filled with ideas and energy about the part they hope to play in the world. Which may explain why I go on visiting as many schools as I do, when I’m behind in pretty much all aspects of my life! But who can blame me? When each encounter, each class, each amazing kind teacher, each school, leaves me with the kind of hope that causes the skin to tingle with joy. And helps to keep me and the phenomenal souls I get to work with and meet, both in the refugees camps of France and Greece, and the women’s refuges, going.

I know Hope lives, grows, and spreads through every single one of us at rates unfathomable because I see it do so every single day. Through every beautiful word, kind deed, and empathetic lens we are able to offer our fellow human beings - no matter how small those words, deeds and lenses might seem to us - hope instilled spreads like a lit baton, lighting up the next person, and the next person, and the next person times infinity.

Children’s hunger to be a part of “it” - whatever human or planetary crisis that “it” and that baton might be linked to - and the deep hopes they hold for themselves and their own voices, is what my first non-fiction Hope on the Horizon is all about. It’s a guide - no… Scratch that! More of a mini launching pad to help children already biting at the bit for change, to use their already existent sense of justice, deep empathy for others, and endless capacity for kindness to revolutionise the multiple worlds they are a part of - whether it be on the homefront, at school, or in their wider worlds. Or even all of the aforementioned.

Each chapter in this non-fiction adventure, begins with the most important foundation of Hope that we human beings have ever gifted ourselves: stories. 

Because whilst Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook et al’s aptly names ‘Stories’ might have tried their best to take over the modern mode of story-telling (after all, it is still the stories of life and loves being created by others, albeit in the digital world that holds our fascination), it was the characters I encountered in both my most beloved childhood books, and the TV set too, that forged an unshakeable foreground for my understanding of what it meant to be a supers/hero. Of how to hope and never give up - not even in the darkest times. Because that’s not what Superman or She-Ra, or the legendary King Arthur or Meg Murray of A Wrinkle in Time would do! And of how the coolest s/hero was the kindest one - the one that listened, loved, learned, and tried to always make the lives of others easier, even if it meant hardship or sacrifice from themselves. 

Such were the ingredients for supers/heroes. And so they remain.

The American writer and animal rights campaigner, Cleveland Amory once remarked, “What this world needs is a new kind of army – the army of the kind.” 

That army already exists. They can be found gently marching amongst us. We may even be the ones doing the marching. And with no minimum age or height restriction, they can certainly be found in every classroom on the planet. 

All we have to do is look, listen, and hope.


Toppsta
2022-05-20
Guest Blog from Onjali Q. Rauf

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Thank you to Onjali for her inspiring blog. Read on for a sneak peek at Hope on the Horizon.

The book shows the way for kids to navigate discrimination, injustice and prejudice, alongside guidance from parents and teachers. From remembering that all humans are equal, to realising your worth and that nothing is ever done alone.

The book uses examples of some of the most amazing people who can inspire us to fight for change, from fictional heroes like Tintin to real life heroes from Einstein to Adele.

Toppsta
2022-05-20
Guest Blog from Onjali Q. Rauf

Onjali also shares 10 of her top secrets for developing your empathy toolkit and making the world a better place. 

Toppsta
2022-05-20
Guest Blog from Onjali Q. Rauf

Hope on the Horizon is out now, and you can read a free extract of the book here.

Toppsta
2022-05-20
Guest Blog from Onjali Q. Rauf
Book pages Placeholder Book

Hope on the Horizon: A children's handbook on empathy, kindness and making a better world

"No one is too small to make a change."

Growing up, there is so much out of our control and so much we can feel helpless about. But together, we can make a difference. In this inspiring and practical handbook, bestselling children's author and Human Rights campaigner, Onjali Rauf, shares her top ten ways for creating change.

With the help of her favourite fictional characters and some of the most inspiring people she has ever met, Onjali invites readers to dive in and discover everything there is to know about kindness, empathy, friendship and fighting for the things that matter. (Plus cool stuff like X-ray vision and deflecting negative forces.)

Because with a bit of compassion, a big dollop of hope and even the smallest act of kindness, we can all make the world a better place. Hope is on the horizon; you just have to find it.

Parental guidance recommended: issues related to discrimination, injustice and prejudice are included.

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