Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Malala: A brave girl from Pakistan and Iqbal: A brave boy from Pakistan

Malala: A brave girl from Pakistan and Iqbal: A brave boy from Pakistan

Jeanette Winter
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2014   ISBN: 978-1481422949

Some years ago, in the Swat Valley in Pakistan, extremist Taliban fighters decided that girls should no longer be allowed to go to school. They should not be allowed to learn how to read either. However, there were some girls who refused to accept what the fighters were telling them, and they kept on going to school, daring to do so in secret when they had to. Even when the girls were threatened and when their schools were burned down, they did not give up. One of these girls was called Malala, and she in particular felt that she had the right to get an education, to play, to talk, to go to the market and “to SPEAK UP.” She refused to be dictated to, and bravely spoke out against those who would deprive her of her basic human rights.

   In a little village near the city of Lahore, miles away from Malala’s home, there was a boy called Iqbal who for years was a bonded worker who was forced to work in a carpet factory so that he could pay off a twelve dollar debt that his parents owed the carpet factory owner. Iqbal was only four when he began his servitude and was ten when he was finally freed.

   Iqbal felt that he should speak out about the slavery he was forced to endure for so many years and this is what he did, even though his life was threatened. He became the voice of Pakistan’s bonded children.

   In this simply written picture book the stories of two incredibly brave children from Pakistan is told. Both of these children were shot by their enemies, and only one of them survived to continue the fight. Children who learn about Malala and Iqbal will come to appreciate that anyone can stand up for what is right. You do not have to be a grownup to bring about change because even the voice of a child has power.