A superior telling of Yousafzai’s life and work thus far.

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MALALA YOUSAFZAI

WARRIOR WITH WORDS

This detailed picture book celebrating Malala Yousafzai shows how she has used her position in the global spotlight to advocate for children’s rights.

The story opens with Yousafzai’s speech at the U.N. in 2013: “Our words can change the world.” It then moves back in time to ask, “Where did Malala learn that her voice and words could change the world?” With a beautiful collage of green land rising to purple and white mountaintops, her upbringing in the Swat Valley of Pakistan is described as nourishing and happy, with a strong family unit. Her words from the blog the BBC began to host in 2009 appear, as do words from her later writings, to describe life under Taliban rule. The latter are pictured as rows and crowds of men in baggy shalwar kameez with scarves tied around their faces and dark holes for eyes. Her family’s brief move out of Swat is included, as is her National Youth Peace Prize awarded in Pakistan, details that show both the devastation within Pakistan and her own country’s appreciation of her work. The text appears on ruled notebook paper, and paper-and-fabric–collage artwork alternates between focusing on Yousafzai and crowd scenes that show her impact. The cloudy black around the eyes on some faces may be a bit distracting, but the illustrations work well overall, with strong use of color and shadow to convey emotion and energy. A Spanish version is available as well, in a translation by Eida de la Vega. An earlier version of the text was published under the same title in 2014 with illustrations by L.C. Wheatley.

A superior telling of Yousafzai’s life and work thus far. (historical notes, activist resources, sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62014-838-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world.

GRANDMA'S GARDENS

In an inviting picture book, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton share personal revelations on how gardening with a grandmother, a mother, and children shapes and nurtures a love and respect for nature, beauty, and a general philosophy for life.

Grandma Dorothy, the former senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate’s mother, loved gardens, appreciating the multiple benefits they yielded for herself and her family. The Clinton women reminisce about their beloved forebear and all she taught them in a color-coded, alternating text, blue for Chelsea and green for Hillary. Via brief yet explicit remembrances, they share what they learned, observed, and most of all enjoyed in gardens with her. Each double-page spread culminates in a declarative statement set in italicized red text invoking Dorothy’s wise words. Gardens can be many things: places for celebration, discovery and learning, vehicles for teaching responsibility in creating beauty, home to wildlife large and small, a place to share stories and develop memories. Though operating from very personal experience rooted in class privilege, the mother-daughter duo mostly succeeds in imparting a universally significant message: Whether visiting a public garden or working in the backyard, generations can cultivate a lasting bond. Lemniscates uses an appropriately floral palette to evoke the gardens explored by these three white women. A Spanish edition, Los jardines de la abuela, publishes simultaneously; Teresa Mlawer’s translation is fluid and pleasing, in at least one case improving on the original.

Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11535-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter

MALALA'S MAGIC PENCIL

The latest of many picture books about the young heroine from Pakistan, this one is narrated by Malala herself, with a frame that is accessible to young readers.

Malala introduces her story using a television show she used to watch about a boy with a magic pencil that he used to get himself and his friends out of trouble. Readers can easily follow Malala through her own discovery of troubles in her beloved home village, such as other children not attending school and soldiers taking over the village. Watercolor-and-ink illustrations give a strong sense of setting, while gold ink designs overlay Malala’s hopes onto her often dreary reality. The story makes clear Malala’s motivations for taking up the pen to tell the world about the hardships in her village and only alludes to the attempt on her life, with a black page (“the dangerous men tried to silence me. / But they failed”) and a hospital bracelet on her wrist the only hints of the harm that came to her. Crowds with signs join her call before she is shown giving her famous speech before the United Nations. Toward the end of the book, adult readers may need to help children understand Malala’s “work,” but the message of holding fast to courage and working together is powerful and clear.

An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter . (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-31957-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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