Book Review: Malala: Activist for Girls' Education

Illustrator: Aurélia Fronty
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Year: 2017
Ages: 6 – 9

Written by Raphaële Frier and illustrated by Aurélia Fronty, Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education is a children’s book about Malala’s extraordinary path to becoming a world-known activist for girls’ education. Malala was born in Pakistan, an Islamic country where women have fewer rights than men, and the Taliban make war to be in charge. Fortunately, Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, is an advocate for girls’ education. He founded a school for girls in the city of Mingora. Malala grew up believing that all children have the right to an education. When the Taliban started targeting schools in Pakistan, Ziauddin allowed and encouraged Malala to speak up against the Taliban’s violence and extreme policies. Malala’s activism enraged the Taliban, and they tried to kill her on October 9, 2012. She survived and became a vital activist for girls’ education around the world. At seventeen, Malala became the youngest person ever to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. During her speech at the United Nations in New York City, she said: “One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world.”

This book impressed me and made my eyes watery. With straightforward prose, Frier tells the story of how Malala became one of the most important activists in the world at a young age. She does not sugar-coat Malala’s story. The book tells about the lack of women’s rights in Pakistan, the Taliban’s fundamentalism, and Malala’s near-death experience after the Taliban shot her in the head. Fronty’s stunning illustrations bring balance to a read that could overwhelm children. The book also includes short sections about Pakistan and Malala’s life, activism, religion, and inspirational figures.

The target audience of this nonfiction book is children between the ages of six and nine. I think that this a story that children need to read along with their parents because the content might not be easy for them to understand. Parents might need to explain to the little ones why girls have fewer rights in Pakistan, what is fundamentalism and an assassination attempt, and why Malala’s work is essential for the world. Besides that, the book introduces Malala concretely to children.

Rating: 4 stars

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