Top Texts for December

This month’s Top Texts are chosen by Rowena Seabrook from Amnesty International.

The Boy at the Back of the Class

​A new student has joined the class and the narrator and her best friends are determined to make him feel welcome. When they learn of Ahmet’s experience as a refugee who has travelled from Syria and has been separated from his family, they come up with a plan. But a threat to close British borders mean that they have to take more urgent action. Onjali Rauf’s charming debut novel demonstrates the power of compassion and friendship to inspire social action – and illuminates the heartlessness and impact of how child refugees are treated in the UK. Perfect for Key Stage 2, just make sure you have plenty of paper for letter writing!

Tender Earth

The ‘baby’ of her family, eleven-year-old Laila Levenson is feeling overwhelmed by change at home and at school. When she discovers her Grandma Josie’s ‘Protest Book’, Laila begins her journey to becoming a young activist. Sita Brahmachari’s moving and thoughtful book celebrates human rights defenders of all ages. This would be a great read for readers in Years 5, 6 and 7 who may relate to Laila’s anxieties and new-found confidence, and stand up for human rights.

The Hate U Give

16-year-old Starr witnesses a police officer murder her unarmed childhood friend Khalil. In the face of brutal injustice, discrimination and intimidation, Starr grapples with if and how to speak up. Angie Thomas’s exceptional first novel is a searing representation of the discrimination and violence faced by black people in America, and the heart-rending courage it takes to stand up for yourself and others when the system is unjust. This will inspire vibrant, challenging and necessary conversations among teenage readers.


About this month's reviewer

Rowena Seabrook is the Human Rights Education Manager at Amnesty International UK. Before joining Amnesty, Rowena was a Head of English and is lucky enough to combine her passion for human rights and books in her work. This includes creating resources, delivering training and running projects. To find out more, visit or email