Malala’s Magic Pencil
45pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
When she was young, Malala Yousafzai watched a television program called Shaka Laka Boom Boom about a boy who had a magic pencil which he used to draw the things he needed to get himself out of trouble or to get the things he needed like a bowl of curry when he was hungry. As Malala watched she wished she had a magic pencil too so she could draw and get the things she wanted, like a lock on her door to keep her brothers out, some flowers to erase the smell of the nearby rubbish dump, beautiful dresses for her mum, even a real soccer ball so she and her brothers didn’t have to play with an old sock stuffed with rubbish.
Every night she wished for a magic pencil and every morning she looked for it but it was never there.
Then one day whilst throwing potato peelings and eggshells on that nearby rubbish dump she saw something that she had never seen and which, ultimately, changed her life. A girl was sorting the rubbish into piles and boys were fishing for metal scraps with magnets on a string. As she talked it over that evening with her school principal father, she learned that not all were lucky like her and got to go to school, that many many children had to help support their families with the rubbish they found and that for so many school was a luxury only to be dreamed of. And she also realised that even with her education, she could be just as trapped as those girls on the rubbish dump.
New dreams began and that elusive magic pencil was going to be put to a wider use.
But Malala was smart enough to know that there was not going to be a magic pencil miraculously waiting beside her bed one morning so she had to create her own. So she did…
One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world…
The youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala is one of the most inspirational young women this generation has seen and her story is becoming more and more well-known as she hopes to inspire others to lend their voices to the global issue of education for girls. In this stunning picture book, aimed at children who are the age she was when she began her campaign, the reader not only learns about what inspired her but also becomes inspired to make a whisper become a worldwide shout. If the current #metoo campaign can become such a voice for opposing sexual aggression against women, then what can be done to create a similar movement for girls’ education. Study after study has shown that the way to world peace is through the education of girls so this is the perfect vehicle to help our young students understand they do have a voice, it is important and it can be loud.