Malala's Magic Pencil

by Malala Yousafzai (Author)

Malala's Magic Pencil
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Nobel Peace Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Malala Yousafzai's first picture book, inspired by her own childhood.

As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true.

This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala's story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.


School Library Journal

Starred Review

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 "Kerascoet." 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

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Yousafzai, the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, grew up in Pakistan dreaming of possessing a magic pencil like the one on her favorite TV show. At first, she believes that such a pencil could solve any problem--from keeping her brothers out of her room to erasing war, poverty, hunger, and gender disparity. But as Malala grows, so does her sense of purpose and agency; she realizes that change comes not from magic, but from the force of her own words and ideas. When "powerful and dangerous men" (the unnamed Taliban--an afterword provides details) forbid girls from attending school, she speaks up; when "they tried to silence me," an allusion to her near-fatal shooting, "they failed." Kerascoet's bright, reportorial watercolors match the text's directness and sincerity, adding gold embellishments to give Malala's hopes and optimism a radiant physicality. The Malala in these pages is both approachable and extraordinary: even at her most vulnerable, turned away from readers and looking out the window of a darkened hospital room, her determination seems unstoppable. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Karolina Sutton, Curtis Brown U.K. Illustrator's agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Oct.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

* "This is a wonderful read for younger students that will also provide insight and encourage discussion about the wider world. ... The simplicity of Yousafzai's writing and the powerful message she sends, make this book inspirational for all."—School Library Journal (starred review)
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9780316319577
Lexile Measure
N/A
Guided Reading Level
M
Publication date
October 20, 2017
Series
-

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