Malala’s Magic Pencil By Malala Yousafzai, Illustrated by Kerascoët (2017) – hardcover
What a stunning book about such an inspiring figure! Malala delicately tells her story of her harrowing experience living under the Taliban in Pakistan and the inspiration for her life of advocacy for girls’ education. In this children’s picture book, she spares detailing the horrific, life-changing moment when she is shot in the head by the Taliban, simply for speaking publicly about her advocacy for girls’ education. And then miraculously survives and decides to advocate even harder. She simply addresses this moment with a blacked-out page that reads: “My voice became so powerful that the dangerous men tried to silence me. But they failed.” This is such a smart decision, giving parents and educators the choice to fill in the details if they so wish.
Malala wrote the book in the first-person narrative, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was reading a personal letter or diary entry which added to the realness of her powerful story. Children will relate to her love of learning and not understanding, as she did at such a young age, how a group of people would want to deny girls’ an education because they feel threatened. More importantly, children will be inspired by Malala’s bravery and countless examples of fighting for what you truly believe in.
Take-away message: Wishing for things to change is not enough. True change calls for hard work, perseverance, and bravery.
TAGS: notable POC, female lead, female empowerment, Pakistani, South Asian, Muslim, hardcover