Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Malala: Activist for Girls' Education

Malala: Activist for Girls' Education

Raphaele Frier
Illustrator:  Aurelia Fronty 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Charlesbridge, 2017   ISBN: 978-1580897853

Malala is the daughter of Ziauddin and Tor, and she lives with her parents and her younger brother in the city of Mingora in Pakistan. Malala’s father Ziauddin founded a school for girls and he strongly believes that girls should be as valued as boys. When the Taliban starts to gain power he begins to worry about what is going to happen to his country and his school. The leaders of the conservative Muslim Taliban think that girls and women should not be educated and should stay at home.

Ziauddin’s fears are well founded for it is not long before the Taliban is insisting that people should change their lives in dramatic ways. They should not listen to music, use computers, or watch the television. Women should cover their faces and bodies with burqas. People who disobey the Taliban’s rules are punished or even killed. Then it is announced that girls “no longer have the right to go to school.”

Malala is incensed by these new laws and she dares to speak out against them. Though she is still a young teenager, she speaks out publically, advocating for the rights of girls. She becomes a highly admired children’s rights activist and is given an award by her own government. In 2011 Malala creates an educational foundation, gaining the support she needs to further her goals. Unfortunately her activities have earned her the enmity of the Taliban, who do like her father’s school or Malala’s activism. They threaten the lives of Malala’s family members, and on October 9th, 2012, Malala is shot while she is traveling on a school bus. One would think being terribly wounded would stop Malala from speaking out on behalf of girls and women all around the world, but she does not stop.

On the pages of this powerful and inspiring biography, readers will meet a young girl who dared to speak out for those who do not have the ability to speak for themselves. Children will see how the Taliban bullied and terrified people, and how Malala and her followers refused to be silenced by the often violent political group.

Throughout the book readers will find quotes from Malala’s writings and speeches, and at the back of the book they will find further information about her life, her activism, and her work.

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