Read Manchester’s city-wide Year 6 transition read is now underway! For a second year running, the award-winning author, Onjali Q Rauf has been chosen as the author and her brilliant book, The Lion Above the Door is being given to every year 6 pupil in Manchester. That’s 8,000 books for 144 primary schools!

The Lion Above the Door’s story covers themes about friendships, fitting in and family and is perfect for Read Manchester’s See Myself in Books campaign which champions representation in books. 

Rauf’s book, published by Orion, tells the story of Leo and his best friend Sangeeta who often feel like the odd ones out at school and in the small village they live in, where everyone else is white.  That is until they go on a trip to a war museum where Leo sees his own name on a war memorial, starting him off on an amazing investigation that highlights some of the hidden history of World War Two and his own family. 

Children in Year 6 will be given the opportunity to read the story and take part in activities both at school and at home. It will be used by many high schools as part of their transition programme between primary and high school and gives pupils a shared experience, no matter which high school they go to in September. Pupils in Special Schools will also receive a copy of the book and an additional title – Super Duper Me by Sophy Henn. 

Pupils are also invited to enter a StoryStarter competition which will be judged by the author: 

‘As I stared down at the torn out pages, I began to ask myself why…’ 

Write a story beginning with this line and email to by 29 September 2023 with your name, the name of your primary school and the name of your high school. Onjali Q. Raúf will judge the stories, and the winners will be announced in October. 

The Lion Above the Door is also available to borrow from Manchester Libraries here.

Further information about the author: Onjali Q Rauf is also the founder of Making Herstory, an organisation mobilising men, women and children from all walks of life to tackle the abuse and trafficking of women and girls in the UK and beyond. In her spare time, she delivers emergency aid convoys for refugee families surviving in Calais and Dunkirk. 

Read an interview with the author on the BookTrust website

Thanks to Hachette UK for their support of Read Manchester’s Transition Read 2023.