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.
Earlier this year, Myra wrote about Malala: The Brave Girl from Pakistan. As we continue to celebrate our theme on the Universal Republic of Childhood, I want to share two more picturebook biographies featuring Malala Yousafzai, the young lady who became the voice of children and fought for equal education.
Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words
Words by: Karen Leggett Abouraya
Pictures by: L.C. Wheatley
Publisher: Star Walk Kids Media (2014)
This beautifully illustrated picturebook biography of Malala Yousafzai emphasizes the power of words and the courage one may find in it. Author-journalist Karen Leggett Abouraya dedicated the book to her mother for her unshakable dedication to education. Karen was past President of the Children’s Book Guild in Washington, D.C.
The book begins with a short description of Malala as someone who stood up in front of the world and made her voice heard. She is a miracle in pink. She is a warrior with words.
“We will bring change through our voice,” she said. She asked every nation to make it possible for every child to go to school for free.
Malala was named after Malala of Maiwand, a brave woman who proved that the pen was indeed mightier than the sword. Malala of Maiwand used poetry to save her village from invaders more than a century ago. Through brief and concise statements, the book narrates the story of not just Malala but also of her village in the Swat Valley before, during, and after the Taliban’s rise to power.
“We have some people who are afraid of ghosts and some people who are afraid of spiders, and in Swat we were afraid of humans like us.”
Raised by her father who worked as a school principal, Malala believed in education as a basic human right. She understood the power of words, so she volunteered to write on a blog sponsored by the British Broadcasting Corporation (the BBC) to tell the world about the dark times in Pakistan and its continued fight for education.
Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words uses simple words and beautiful collage art to bring Malala’s story to life that can be easily understood by young readers. This book targets children ages 8-11 years old. The book also offers additional information on the subjects of Pakistan and eduation:
- Benazir Bhutto
- Rise of the Taliban
- Resources on Pakistan
- The Malala Fund
- School Girls Unite
- Global Campaign for Education
For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story
Words by: Rebecca Langston-George
Pictures by: Janna Bock
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers (2015)
Malala Yousafzai’s life is truly remarkable. For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story is a perfect companion to Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words. Rebecca Langston-George collaborated with Janna Bock to paint a detailed picture of Malala Yousafzai, her life and struggles as a Pakistani girl who fought for education.
“This award is not just for me. It is for those forgotten children who want education. It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change.”
Malala Yousafzai had become the voice for equal education.
Although the target audience for this picturebook biography is the same as that of Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words (kids ages 8-11 years old), there is an abundance of information that you can find in For the Right to Learn. This book is basically an elaboration of Warrior with Words. One of my favorite parts in the book was portrayed in the image above, accompanied by these words:
[Malala] was more determined than ever to succeed at school. Over the school holidays most Pakistani women used henna to paint flowers and vines on their hands. Malala covered her hands with science formulas.
Janna Bock’s illustrations are gorgeous. The book photos I took do not give them justice. For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story is a great mentor text about courage and education. It’s perfect for helping children learn about Malala Yousafzai, the struggles of Pakistani women, and the fight for equal education.
Like Malala, there are a lot of non-profit organizations that promote and fight for education. I have included a few of these. Check out the links below:
- Pencils of Promise — a global community that believes everyone deserves access to quality education.
- Asante Africa Foundation — an organization that educates East Africa’s youth to confidently address life’s challenges, thrive in the global economy, and catalyze positive change.
- Asha for Education — helps empower underprivileged children in India by providing access to education.
- 7 Inspiring Literacy and Education Nonprofits — list provided by GoodNet.
- 50 Nonprofits Making a World of Difference — list provided by Matador Network.
There are a lot of videos featuring Malala Yousafzai — speeches and interviews — that you can find online. What I’m sharing below is a video of Ziadduin Yousafzai who talked about his daughter, Malala, in TED Talks.