Many children’s books have been written to share Malala Yousafzai’s story of advocacy and courage. Malala’s Magic Pencil is the first picture book that she has written to tell her story and to inspire young people to be advocates for positive change. The book begins with the question, “Do you believe in magic?” While the magic pencil in the children’s television show that Malala watched had mysterious powers, her pencil did not. Instead, it was Malala’s words and her voice that truly had the power to influence events in Pakistan and around the world.
This book begins with Malala as a young girl who dreamed of having a magic pencil like the one she saw on TV that could create anything that could be drawn. She wanted to draw a more just society for the people in her community. When the Taliban rose to power and girls were no longer allowed to attend school, Malala used a simple wooden pencil to speak out. To those in power, Malala’s pencil was just as much of a threat as magic might be. Malala’s Magic Pencil follows her story through the terrible events of October 2012 to her life today.
This would be a wonderful book to share with students when discussing issues of equality. Malala is a powerful example of a young person who spoke out against injustice in her community. While she was targeted for her bravery, she overcame extreme adversity to make a stand for women and girls everywhere.
Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards:
Justice 13: I know some true stories about how people have been treated badly because of their group identities, and I don’t like it.
Justice 14: I know that life is easier for some people and harder for others and the reasons for that are not always fair.
Justice 15: I know about people who helped stop unfairness and worked to make life better for many people.
SL.1 – Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
SL.2- Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud.