The Lion Above the Door

Publisher: Orion

Leo and his best friend Sangeeta often feel like the odd ones out at school and in the small village they live in, where everyone else is white. Leo certainly feels the stares at him and his family as they do the shopping and walk to school, and wonders why his dad never wants to make a fuss about the mean things the kids at school sometimes say.

When Leo and Sangeeta’s class begin a project about World War Two, Leo looks at pictures in books of the people that fought for Britain in the war and realises that none of them look like him, even though Sangeeta points out that many of the books also don’t include the experiences of many women – and certainly not women of colour.

Going on a trip to a war museum, Leo envies his classmates that have stories to tell about their great-grandparents and family members who fought in the war. Yet, when he finds his own name on a war memorial, he is amazed. Who was this brave soldier, and is he related to Leo in any way? With Sangeeta’s help, Leo starts an amazing investigation that will highlight some of the hidden history of World War Two – and his own family.

A perfect read for children studying World War Two in primary school, The Lion Above the Door is another sensitive, thoughtful book from Onjali Q Rauf that highlights racism and bullying in children’s lives today, as well as the way that people of colour’s stories have often been ignored from history.

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