This month I have chosen to highlight Malala’s Magic Pencil written by Malala Yousafzai and illustrated by Kerascoët. This beautifully illustrated picture book quickly engages young readers as Malala imagines using a magic pencil to create objects that she would like to have or give as gifts to others. Malala shares her story of becoming aware of the social injustices in her home country, Pakistan. After witnessing poverty and realizing girls her age were being prevented from going to school, Malala feels a bit hopeless. She soon decides that she can use her magic pencil to write about the injustice and inequity she sees. She finds her voice and her words have power to make change as they reach millions of people around the world. She continued to write even though she knew she was putting herself in danger. Students were fascinated by Malala’s courage and strength. Malala’s Magic Pencil is a deeply meaningful story written and illustrated in a way that resonates with children.
After reading this book, third grade students shared that they’d use their magic pencils to write about protecting the earth, animals and helping people. The passion and enthusiasm I saw in students has led to an inquiry project in which students are researching these topics and writing to convince others of their causes. There is so much excitement and engagement!
Here’s what children say:
It gave me inspiration to write about protecting the Earth.
It gave me the spark of thinking of ways to help people.
It gives you the courage to try to do what she did. To try to change the world.