Bestselling children’s author Onjali Q Rauf has tackled issues in her work including the refugee crisis and domestic violence. Now, with her third book, The Night Bus Hero, Onjali is taking on homelessness – and sharing a percentage of the profits with us here at Depaul UK.
Onjali said: “I first heard of Nightstop through a dear friend who is a host for the scheme, and thought how utterly magnificent it was that people from our wider communities with a spare room to offer were being mobilised to help shelter their local homeless.
“Working with extreme forms of homelessness as I do, both through my works with women and children fleeing domestic violence and refugees of war, it was only natural that Nightstop and the wider works Depaul undertakes to help young people understand homelessness should feature in the final pages of The Night Bus Hero.”
She added: “The book, which features characters such as Thomas, the Catwoman and Mason (all rough sleepers), will, I hope, inspire young ones to get their thinking caps on about the deeper issues that can lie behind a person’s homeless state, dispel fears, and maybe even make them want to know how to help and get involved.
“And in their doing so, learn of the extraordinary works being undertaken not just by Depaul UK staff, but by the phenomenal hosts who open up their doors and hearts to those needing safety, warmth and a heart-filled welcome.”
Onjali’s first novel, The Boy at the Back of the Class, won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award for Best Story. Her second book, The Star Outside My Window was shortlisted for the British Book Awards “Children’s Fiction Book of The Year”.
Depaul UK Executive Director of Fundraising and Communications Kevin Clements said: “We’re grateful to Onjali for both helping us to raise awareness of the important issue of youth homelessness and also raising vital funds to help young people affected by homelessness.
“We expect to see a rise in young people facing homelessness when the economic impacts of the Covid-19 crisis are felt, and this support will enable us to help more young people to find a place to call home and a stake in their communities.”