We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2016 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.
We have just launched our new reading theme this March-April: Fearless Females and Courageous Women. And I thought it would be great to begin our theme with this brave young woman from Pakistan.
Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan: Two Stories of Bravery
Written and Illustrated by: Jeanette Winter
Published by: Beach Lane Books, 2014
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
Jeanette Winter is known for her picturebook biographies. I am glad that she has directed her gaze to this young woman whose life story told in very accessible picturebook format would hopefully prove to be an inspiration to many young readers. Much too often, children are asked to read about ancient people or those who have died centuries before. It is a refreshing change to find someone so contemporary, so determined, so young and driven by a cause much bigger than one’s self.
The book begins with a quote from Rabindranath Tagore:
Let us not pray to be sheltered from danger, but to be fearless when facing them.
There are essentially two books in one here, as the reader is invited to flip the book over to see Iqbal’s story. Given our reading theme, I would just be focusing on Malala’s narrative.
From the first opening, as you can see above, the book moves pretty fast with the Taliban demanding to find Malala, presumably to hurt her. Then the story backtracks a bit in the following pages to provide the context, situating the story within Swat Valley in Pakistan where the girls are prohibited to read and go to school.
I like how Winter uses very clear, straightforward fonts, and changed their colour to highlight Malala’s voice and her commitment to speak up and claim her right of education. I also just recently bought I am Malala (by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb) which I hope to read this year. This is a book that needs to be part of all classroom libraries.
Here is an extended interview of Malala in The Daily Show that is worth watching. The thing that strikes me most about her is her calm confidence, her piercing gaze, and her unwavering desire to make a difference in the world. Enjoy the clip.