December 9, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafszai | SLJ Review

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redstarYOUSAFZAI, Malala. Malala’s Magic Pencil. illus. by Kerascoët. 48p. photos. Little, Brown. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316319577. POP

Gr 3 Up –Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and campaigner for the rights of all children to attend school, has written her first picture book. It is an autobiographical account of her life designed for younger readers. She gently introduces her childhood in Pakistan and recounts a favorite TV show where a young boy has a magic pencil that he uses to help people. The magic pencil becomes a reoccurring motif throughout the work on how to make the world a better place. Of the infamous Taliban violence, she simply says, “My voice became so powerful that the dangerous men tried to silence me. But they failed.” The beautifully written book goes on to describe Yousafzai’s quest for justice and the importance of finding one’s voice. The enchanting story is accompanied by the beautiful illustrations of duo Sebastien Cosset and Maries Pommepuy, also known as “Kerascoët.” Sparse pen and ink outlines the bright, soft watercolors that effortlessly depict Yousafzai’s daily life and then are enhanced by delicate gold overlay drawings that highlight her magical wishes for a better world and the power that a single voice can command. This is a wonderful read for younger students that will also provide insight and encourage discussion about the wider world. Included are biographical notes and photos of Yousafzai and her ­family. VERDICT The simplicity of Yousafzai’s writing and the powerful message she sends, make this book inspirational for all. Highly recommended.–Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY

This review was published in the School Library Journal August 2017 issue.

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