Malala – Iqbal, by Jeanette Winter

malala-a-brave-girl-from-pakistan-iqbal-a-brave-9781481422949_lgMalala: A Brave Girl From Pakistan

Iqbal: A Brave Boy from Pakistan

Jeanette Winter, Author and illustrator

Beech Lane Books, Biography, Nov. 4, 2014

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Children speaking out about injustice, Bravery, Malala, Iqbal, Pakistan, Taliban

Openings: Two children from Pakistan spoke out against injustice in their world. Their bravery in the face of great danger is an inspiration to all who know their stories.

“Who is Malala?” the Taliban demands, looking into the school van. 

“Twelve dollars!  Until the twelve-dollar loan to his parents is repaid, four-year-old Iqbal must work in the carpet factory. Twelve dollars for a boy’s freedom.”

Beech Lane Books Synopsis:  Meet two heroes of Pakistan who stood up for the rights to freedom and education in these inspirational nonfiction tales from acclaimed author-illustrator Jeanette Winter. Two stories of bravery in one beautiful book—including the story of Malala Yousafzai, a winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize!

One country: Pakistan. Two children: Iqbal Masih and Malala Yousafzai. Each was unafraid to speak out. He, against inhumane child slavery in the carpet trade. She, for the right of girls to attend school. Both were shot by those who disagreed with them—he in 1995, she in 2012. Iqbal was killed instantly; Malala miraculously survived and continues to speak out around the world.

Why I like this book:

  • It is an illustrated picture book biography.
  • Great pairing of two very brave children in one book.  Read Malala’s Yousafzai’s story first and then flip the book over and read Iqbal Masih’s  story.
  • The text is very simple and childlike; the words powerful. This is an inspiring book that will introduce children to the courageous boy and girl who share a common interest–they want to attend school at a high cost to their lives.
  • The colorful digital illustrations capture the story in a manner that won’t frighten children. Mid-way through the book where the stories meet, an illustration depicts Malala and Iqbal flying kites on a double-page spread. Malala is holding onto to the string of her kite, while Iqbal (a shadow of a boy) lets go of his string. This page is symbolic of their intertwined lives and a kind of passing of the torch to Malala who refuses to be silenced by bullets and becomes the voice for human rights.
  • This is an excellent introductory book to use in the classroom.

Resources: There is an author’s note at the beginning of each story that highlights each child with more detail. This belongs in every school library. It is a great way to discuss the plight of children living in other countries. How are their lives similar and different? Encourage students to write a letter to Malala.

Jeanette Winter is the acclaimed author/illustrator of many highly regarded picture books, including The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq; Mama: A True Story in Which a Baby Hippo Loses His Mama During a Tsunami, but Finds a New Home and a New Mama; Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa; Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan; Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia; Henri’s Scissors, and Mr. Cornell’s Dream Boxes. 

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

32 thoughts on “Malala – Iqbal, by Jeanette Winter

  1. Wow! Two books in one! What a deal! That Ms Winter sure does some fine work. I like seeing her name on a cover. It means some magic is inside. PERFECT choice for today! I’ll be looking for this one for sure!!


  2. Such a great pairing! We first learned about Iqbal Masih through the now out of print book “The Carpet Boy’s Gift” and through Free the Children, an incredible organization that was launched by a 12 year old Canadian, inspired by Iqbal’s story. Now handing the kite string to Malala, who has inspired millions of people around the world through her bravery, standing up to the Taliban. I’m so glad to see these two stories together in one flip book. It will be on our shelves in our shop in San Mateo shortly.

    Thank you so much for sharing this book!!!


    • I thought I might hear from you. Yes, I remember when I received the “Carpet Boy’s Gift” from your bookstore. Iqbal’s story is heartbreaking and inspiring. You will love the centerfold and the passing of the torch between Iqbal to Malala. Maybe you will see other symbolism too. Such a lovely book for young children. I’ve featured Craig in other books written by Winter. His story is inspiring too. Safe to say we share a similar love of certain books.


    • Yes, it is difficult. Read my review of Iqbal “The Carpet Boy’s Gift.” His death was sad, as was Malala’s near death, but the were/are two determined children who’s goal was to bring change to Pakistan. By the way, the story is written in a way that it isn’t frightening for young kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pat, I can’t wait to get my hands on this. It needs a skillful author like Jeanette to present these difficult stories in a way that is palatable for young children. But it is so important that these stories be shared.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I agree. I found the book at the library, so you shouldn’t have a problem if you want to read it! I am a Winter’s fan and love her work. I’ve reviewed other individual books on both Malala and Iqbal. But, this one is very appropriate for young children. You will love the symbolism.


    • They are “must reads.” I was like you too — I loved true stories about heroes. What is interesting is that both Malala and Iqbal started huge movements. A 12-year-old boy from Canada, Craig, started Free the Children after he read about Iqbal. Today his organization is huge. He holds leadership conferences for youth wanting to make a difference and will sell out an entire stadium. It’s nice to know we have so many young people with big hearts.


  4. Very brave of Jeanette to tackle such a story as this. It would be difficult to express because of all the undercurrents in such societies. It is so important that these beautiful children’s voices be heard. In Malala’s case, I hope she will write her own story one day. I must search out this book as it sounds like a very important book to pass on to our grandchildren.


    • Malala has wrote her own story and then author Patricia McCormick co-authored a book with her for young adults in 2014. What pleases me that there are books on these two young people in different genres. This picture book is a wonderful pairing of these two heroes. And as Joanne commented “palatable” for young children.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my goodness, Pat! These books sound so powerful. I got teary just reading your description of the page in the middle where the two stories meet. What an inspiration these children are, and what role models for young readers. I like that they’ve been done in a way that is accessible to kids. Thanks so much for sharing these books.


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