Malala Yousafazai, known simply as Malala, is one of the most accomplished Muslim women in history. Her story is incredible not only for what happened to her, but rather how young she was when it happened. However, her fight for girls’ education began much earlier than the fateful day she was shot by the Taliban. There are now many great children’s books about Malala.
Malala’s Early Life
At the young age of 11, Malala penned an anonymous blog detailing her life under Taliban rule. The New York Times made a documentary about her life and Desmond Tutu nominated her for the International Children’s Peace Prize. She was in the limelight and prominently known already, which is why the Taliban targeted her and wanted her voice silenced.
Malala’s story is one of courage and determination in the face of terror. On that fateful day in October of 2012, she and two of her classmates were shot. Malala was shot in the head. Her story gained worldwide attention and the whole world prayed for her. Following her miraculous recovery in a hospital in England, she became a fierce human rights activist and went on to become the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Malala is an inspiration for young children especially. Her story gives hope to kids, that they too, can make a difference. Age doesn’t matter.
5 Great Children’s Books to Introduce Malala to a Young Audience
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This picture book, Malala’s Magic Pencil, is written by Malala herself. It is a story inspired by her own childhood, so a younger audience can be introduced to her. In this book, Malala dreams of having a magic pencil that can draw a better world for herself and her community in Pakistan. She wishes she had a pencil to erase the smell of garbage in her city and to sleep an extra hour. As she grows up, she realizes there is so much she can do and doesn’t need to wish for magic. It’s within her. The illustrations are as beautiful as the prose.
Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education is told in much more detail and the biographical data is a realistic portrayal of the events that led up to Malala getting shot. It talks about the Taliban and their actions against girls getting an education, like setting schools on fire. This book is better for kids 4th grade and older, but also with a parent and teacher to open up discussions and clarify more complex concepts.
The illustrations alone in Free as a Bird: The Story of Malala are enough to capture even the youngest child’s attention. What sets this book apart is the focus on the beautiful relationship and bond Malala has with her father. Some people in their community shook their head when Malala was born. Having a girl was seen as bad luck, but her father felt nothing but blessed. He didn’t see anything except for his daughter to be “free as a bird.”
The New York Times bestselling ‘Who Is’ series now includes Who is Malala Yousafzai? If your child is doing a research project on notable people in history, this is a great read with helpful, factual information. The book starts when she was shot and then goes back to her childhood and what her dreams were. It sets the stage for a deeper understanding of how much what happened to her was a direct result of her passion for education, learning, and going to school. Who is Malala Yousafzai will open up discussions about what it means for kids who don’t have easy access to education.
For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story is beautifully illustrated. It takes a very sensitive topic and introduces it gently to young readers. The book focuses mainly on what happened to her regarding the shooting incident. The book explains it in a way that young children will have questions about why she got hurt. It also makes children feel proud that one girl, one young child, can and did change the world.
Do you have any other children’s books about Malala to recommend?
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