Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Dundee United player encourages city kids to read in launch of new campaign

Ian Harkes with a copy of The Boy at the Back of the Class.
Ian Harkes with a copy of The Boy at the Back of the Class.

Dundee United player Ian Harkes has chosen a book for city kids to read as part of a new campaign to stamp out discrimination and encourage children to read.

Ian is asking children between the ages of eight and 12 to read “The Boy at the Back of the Class” by Onjali Q Rauf  and write a review on it.

The book centres around around a Syrian refugee named Ahmet who struggles to adapt to his new life in London until he is befriended by his new classmates.

Entries have to be submitted by April 12 and the winner, chosen by Ian, will win a Dundee United football shirt signed by the First Team as well as a copy of Onjali’s new book “The Night Bus Hero”, signed by the author.

Jamie Kirk, chief executive officer of competition organiser Dundee United Community Trust, said: “We  want this competition and initiative to shine a light on the importance of friendship and kindness as a response to discrimination, racism and pandemic loneliness.

“The community trust is in the process of getting copies of the book into local schools to make the competition as accessible as possible and will have our community projects officer on hand to support the children with their entries.”

Ian Harkes with a copy of The Boy at the Back of the Class.

Jamie added: “Reading and lifelong learning in general are key areas of focus for us so we’re delighted to be a partner in this campaign.

“We’ll be working with local schools to encourage everyone to take part, offering to support pupils with writing their book review entry as well as donating copies of the book itself to the schools to make this as accessible as possible.”

Ian said he chose the book because it shows football as a tool to overcome barriers, regardless of background.

“The clever ploy in this book is the perspective,” he said.

“The narrating character doesn’t know much about the war in Syria and the refugee crisis.

“What the child knows for sure though is that they want to befriend the stranger.

“Not only does the book challenge prevalent racist stereotypes from the refreshing perspective of a child, but it offers a timely reminder of the importance of looking out for one another in a spirit of friendship and kindness in everyday life and to counter the isolation imposed by Covid-19.”

The novel’s author, Onjali Q. Raúf, is the founder of Making Herstory and the O’s Refugee Aid Team, which provides support for refugee families surviving in Calais and Dunkirk.

In her work in the camps, she witnessed first-hand the unique transformative power of football to bring people together.

She said: “I am so very honoured that Dundee United have given Ahmet’s story the gift of a home.”

To win a Dundee United football top signed by the first team and/or a signed copy of Onjali Q. Raúf’s latest novel, The Night Bus Hero, email a review of The Boy at the Back of the Class to Ian@dundeeunitedct.co.uk by April 12.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]