Malala Yousafzai’s story of courage and determination in the face of adversity, has crossed the world several times over.
And as Malala herself steps into Oxford University to begin her degree, her picture book – Malala’s Magic Pencil – enables her story to reach a new generation.
Malala imbues her story with imagination. Her over riding message is one of dreams, and voice, and inspiring little readers to follow those dreams.
‘Do you believe in magic?’
Malala dreams of what she would draw if she had a magic pencil – anything you draw with it, becomes reality. Malala considers an extra hour in bed, plus a lock to keep little brothers out of her way would be just perfect!
As Malala takes us through her life and alludes to how things begin to change at home, her father is a wonderful guiding presence at her side. He encourages Malala to use her ability to write, to tell others about what is happening,
‘I wrote about what it felt like to be scared to walk to school’
‘I wrote about how much I loved school and how proud I was of my uniform.’
‘I spoke for all the girls in my valley who couldn’t speak for themselves.’
Illustrations from Kerascoët, the pseudonym for the New York Times bestselling husband-and-wife illustrator team Sébastien Cosset and Marie Pommepuy, are a wonderful combination of ink and watercolour. The gold is used effectively to highlight the magic pencil dreams that Malala holds. The final double page spread of young Malala standing in front of delegates from around the world delivering her message of hope, and change is a truly wonderful note on which to end the narrative.
Malala’s Magic Pencil becomes a story of power, of voice, of spreading the message of hope. It’s truly a great picture book, and an inspiring one, to share with little readers.