Malala’s Magic Pencil
by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by Kerascoet
Little, Brown and Company, 2017
An inspiring book written by its featured hero, who later became a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Inspired by her writing talent, Malala dreams of what she can do with a magic pencil. She learns other girls and boys scour the dump for valuables they can use to buy food to eat. This causes her to think about freedom, especially about going to school. She knows girls in her country are limited in their education, as well as in their dreams and aspirations.
Then the limitations hit Malala directly. While she works hard in school to reach her dreams, dangerous men with weapons enter her city and declare girls are forbidden from attending school. She writes what it is like to be scared to walk to school and how her friends had moved away because of the dangers. “My voice became so powerful that the dangerous men tried to silence me. But the they failed.” Malala left her country, but still campaigns for education, including for women.
The art is exquisite, done with ink and watercolor, using gold to represent Malala’s dreams. This voice isn’t going away; a great introduction to contemporary world issues.