There have been many books written about Malala Yousafzai, and rightfully so. One of the newer books is Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education, by Raphaële Frier. This book was originally published in France in 2015, but was translated to English and published in the US this year.
Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education takes a different approach in telling her story, focusing a great deal on her formative years. With wonderful illustrations by Aurelia Fronty, the reader sees the happy and loving home Malala was born into. While many families in Pakistan might have been dismayed at the birth of a daughter, Ziauddin Yousafzai and Tor Pekai were thrilled. Ziauddin ran a school for girls and asked his friends to shower his daughter with the same attention that they would a boy.
Malala learned many things from her father, including news that the Taliban, “a powerful and violent political group,” was starting to cause problems in their village. Frier does a good job of showing how the local Taliban used fear to gain more power. Their control grows, but Malala’s father dares to disagree. Malala also takes a stand, but at the beginning of 2009, girls are no longer allowed to go to school.
This is the start of Malala’s political activism. A shift in color from bold red to calm blue marks her taking a stand as she starts writing a blog. Unfortunately, her name gets known among the Taliban. Even after they try to take her life, she continues to speak out for the rights of young girls.
The back of this book gives 10 pages of amazing bonus information. Frier has given kids a ton of factual information in the pages of the story, but in the back of the book she plots it out in a more textbook format. From a timeline of Malala’s life to wonderful, detailed explanations of Pakistan and the Pashtun people, Frier fills in tons of holes. She goes on to write about the situation of educating girls and the role of religion in the area.
Finally, Malala’s bravery and determination didn’t just appear. She as inspired by the actions and behaviors of her father, as shown in the book, as well as other important political and humanitarian figures that we can all learn from.
J really got a lot from reading this book. Even though she has read other versions of Malala’s story, this one seemed to hit home for her. Perhaps it is a maturing and growing understanding of persecution (we did just have a very honest lesson about the Holocaust in Hebrew school), or perhaps it was the very straight-forward way the material was presented in the book. J commented how unfair it was for people to think that girls shouldn’t be educated, although I’m not 100% sure she comprehends that Malala is only 11 years older than she is.
Books like Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education are so important to help inspire our kids to stand up for what they believe in and to know that the actions of a child or young adult can make a world of difference. Share this book with your child.
Every Wednesday I try to post a non-fiction picture book as part of the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy. There are truly so many amazing nonfiction picture books being published these days, it can be hard to contain myself sometimes. Make sure to check out Kid Lit Frenzy and the linked blogs to find some more fabulous books!