For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story

UN International Day of the Girl, Oct. 11, 2016

For the Right to Learn untitledFor the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story

Rebecca Langston-George, Author

Janna Bock, Illustrator

Capstone Young Readers, Nonfiction PB, Aug. 1, 2015

Suitable for ages: 8-11

Pages: 40

Themes: Malala Yousafzai, Educating girls, Children’s rights, Pakistan, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Courage, Hope

Forward: “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….” Dec. 14, 2014, Oslo, Norway

Opening: “Malala’s own education started early. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, ran a school in Mingora, a town surrounded by snowcapped mountains in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. From the time she could walk she visited classes. She even pretended to teach. Malala loved school.”

Synopsis: Few Pakistani families can afford to pay for the children’s education.  Others only paid for their sons’ educations. Mala grew up in a world where women were supposed to be quiet. Many parents believed their daughters should cook and keep house. Mala’s parents believed that girls deserved the same education as boys. She studied hard, could speak and write her native Pashto language and fluent English and Urdu. The Taliban leaders were against educating girls, intimidated school leaders, and ordered her father to close his school. But Malala Yousafzai refused to be silent in Swat Valley. She defied the Taliban’s rules. She spoke out for education for every girl. When schools closed she wrote a blog for the BBC and gave interviews. She was almost killed for her beliefs. This powerful true story of how one brave girl named Malala changed the world proves that one person really can make a difference.

Why I like this book:

Rebecca Langston-George powerfully communicates the story of Mala Yousafzai through her careful choice of words so that students are not frightened by her story, but are inspired. Malala is the voice of the many silenced girls who want to attend school. She is a selfless role model for girls everywhere.

I especially like how the book begins on a positive note with Mala receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and with excerpts from her speech. Readers will immediately feel the power in her words and her commitment to be the voice for equal education.

The setting is very realistic with an emphasis on Pakistani culture, community, family life, and traditions. It gives readers a strong sense of what it is like to live in a country where the rights of women and girls are suppressed. It is a story that needs to be told and can be used as a springboard for students to talk about the inequalities for girls and women worldwide.  Hopefully, readers will appreciate their education and not take it for granted.

Janna Bock’s beautiful illustrations make this story soar. She captures the love of a supportive family, the beauty of the Swat Valley with its lush valleys and beautiful waterfalls, the joy of Mala and the other girls studying together at school, the growing fear as the Taliban force girls and women to wear garments to cover their entire bodies and faces, and the danger everywhere. Bock’s illustrations made this book an emotional story that is filled with courage and hope.

Resources: This book belongs in every school library.  It will spark many lively discussions among students about the education of all students globally. For older students there is a page, “More About Malala’s Story” at the end of the book. It is the perfect book the United Nation’s International Day of the Girl, Oct. 11, 2016. This year’s theme is: Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement. It’s just not a day, but a movement where girls get involved. Also check out Day of the Girl – US. And, today the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced.

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.

26 thoughts on “For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story

    • I thought it was a little different twist on the story, with the opening about the Nobel Peace Prize. The illustrations are beautiful. I love all of the Malala books out there and just hope one of them reaches every girl’s hands.


  1. What a great book to read to celebrate girls! I haven’t read it yet but am moving it to the top of the list–maybe I can find it before Oct. 11!


    • I wrote my review some time ago, but held it so I could promote International Day of the Girl. You may find it in your library. It is a little bit different from others I’ve read and reviewed. And, today the Nobel Peace Prize winner was announced.


  2. I’m glad to hear this book shows the dangers in an age-appropriate way. I love the structural choices you mentioned. Looking forward to reading this and other books by this author. Thanks.


    • Yes, I’ve read and reviewed other stories about Malala in many genres, but this one is special because of her Noble Peace Prize. It just came out in July as a PB. She’s such an important role model for girls worldwide.


  3. I absolutely love Malala’s story, and hope to soon read her biography. Her story is such an inspiration to others, and I’m glad that this story shows that! Thanks for the review!


    • Yes, I love Malala’s story. You will love her biography. Patricia McCormick has written a YA version of her adult book. She definitely has a mission, knows it and continues with all of the threats to her safety. What an evolved soul!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another lovely story of Mala. So glad you reviewed it, and at such an appropriate time. I didn’t know it was the Day of the Girl October 11th. Thanks for letting me know. Great review Pat.


    • I’m pleased you liked Malala’s story. There are many out there in all genres, but each very different. So kids have a variety of books to pick from. Yes, I held this review because of International Day of the Girl Oct. 11.


  5. Thanks for sharing this one, Patricia. I love hearing Malala’s story. It’s one I can’t hear too often. You are right, the story should be in every library and find its way into the hands of every girl, and boy. We need boys to stand up for girls rights too! The Malala movie is excellent also. Have you seen it? I love the way some of the more horrific scenes were portrayed through illustration. I thought it was particularly well done for younger (but not too young) viewers. Her Nobel acceptance speech is awesome. I have listened to both her and her dad present TED talks. They are wonderful. How progressive and forward thinking is her dad – what a wonderful combination. I’ll have to get a copy of this book. It will complement the others beautifully.


  6. I love that Malala’s story is now in a picture book. The illustrations sound amazing & this is such an inspiring story for children of all ages. What a perfect choice for UN International Day of the Girl.


  7. Pingback: PPBF – The Water Princess | Wander, Ponder, Write

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