Sunday, February 28, 2016

Malala Yousafzai: Warrior With Words

Malala Yousafzai: Warrior of Words by Karen Leggett Abouraya and illustrated by L.C. Wheatley is a beautifully written and illustrated biography of Malala's life and the obstacles she has overcome in her life. The story starts by giving a brief explanation of who Malala is and why she is so important, and then explains the beginning of Malala's life and the achievements she has had despite so much resistance.

The book lends itself well to teaching about social justice, standing up for what is right, the importance of education, and ideas of terrorism in the Middle East. I really liked the way the book addresses the darkness of terrorism and the Taliban, while still making it accessible and appropriate for children. For example, the text says, "The Taliban ordered everyone to obey very strict rules. They said that girls should not be educated and women should not work outside their homes. Malala wrote that this was a very dark time. 'We have some people who are afraid of ghosts and some people who are afraid of spiders, and in Swat we are afraid of humans like us.'" This shows how the text models this darkness, without being too graphic.

This book has wonderful illustrations that mix paint, photographs, and other textures that create a beautiful collage on every page. The text appears to be written on notebook paper, making it seem as though it is from Malala's very own diary.

I look forward to using this book to talk about different cultures and beliefs. I think, as teachers, we so often want to discuss problems in the news, but are unsure of how to do so. Malala Yousafzai: Warrior of Words gives teachers a way to breech tough subjects in an honest, yet still guarded way. The story also could be helpful in reminding students how important schooling is, and how school is not easily accessible to everyone in the world. Malala holds the power in this book, so it could be a very encouraging book to young females, especially those of minorities.

The book also has a great map of Pakistan in the back and a general overview of important need-to-know facts. It also has a "You Can Help" page that gives kids ideas of how they can help encourage positive change in our world and help everyone go to school. It could be great for getting kids involved.

Here is a link to the ebook trailer:

1 comment:

  1. This is an awesome review of a book that has a tough subject for students to understand. I love the way you were able to pull out the ways you'd use this in the classroom. Talking about cultures and beliefs is always a challenge, but it sounds like this book would be a great tool! I appreciate you adding the link to the ebook trailer. It's fun to see the book come to life in a different way.