Malala Yousafzai is the living embodiment of hope. The young woman who was shot by a masked gunman because she was writing about Taliban rule for the BBC has turned her life into a movement. The Malala movement is one that gives people all over the world hope as the young woman talks about the importance of education.
There are many things we can learn from Malala. Even children have a great deal to learn from her. But the story of this young woman is complicated and painful to explain at times due to growing up in the turmoil of Taliban.
And yet, Malala still wants to use her life as an example of hope and education for young children out there. This is why she has written an inspirational book for kids — Malala’s Magic Pencil. Thanks to the pictures found along with the text, children will be able to learn about Malala’s story — even the parts that are too complex or terrifying to put into words.
In the book, Malala writes about a show she used to watch on TV called Shaka Laka Boom Boom. It was a show about a boy who had a magic pencil. Malala would dream that she too had a magic pencil to “make her loved ones happy, get rid of the smell of garbage that lingered in her city, and even add an extra hour of sleep in the morning.”
As she grew up and things got worse in her home country, Malala realized there were so many more things that needed to be fixed. The young woman knew that she would never have a magic pencil to draw things out but she had something more important. Her voice was the magic tool that could help bring hope and trigger change.
This is the same lesson she wants to teach children through her book. Her picture book takes kids on a journey and shows them how valuable their voice is. “When you find your voice, Malala believes, every pencil can be magic.”
Looking at the picture book, Malala gets nostalgic about her own childhood. One of the illustrations, featuring kids watching TV, reminds her of how she and her brothers used to get around the TV to watch their favorite show. “My brothers sitting on the ground, and me being curious. It was a peaceful time in Swat Valley, and I like to be reminded of that time in my life."
The illustrations, drawn by French artist duo Kerascoët, are there to help kids understand better the things that are too hard to explain through words. This book is aimed at children between 4 and 8 years old. It aims to show kids that “not all children get the same opportunities.”
“I have met many young children who want to know about what happened in my life and why I believe in education for all,” Malala explained. “So it was important for me to share my story with them. For this age, a picture book felt like the best way — to use pictures and to simplify the events in a way that younger kids can understand.”
Through this book, Malala hopes to inspire more children to becomes beacons of hope. She wants to teach them the importance of making the world a better place. If our children don’t grow up with this goal, then who will?
In the fall, Malala will start her studies at Oxford University. If you want more doses of hope and inspiration from this courageous young woman, then you can follow her on Twitter. She recently joined the social media and gave us another excuse to browse our Twitter feed!