FREE AS A BIRD by Lina Maslo


The Story of Malala
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 10
Email this review


Another picture-book biography about Pakistani schoolgirl–turned–international heroine Malala Yousafzai.

In Maslo’s picture-book debut, she frames Malala’s story around the concept of freedom. The book opens with a quote from Malala’s father: “I did not clip her wings, and that’s all.” It ends with another quote from him as well: “Don’t you think she is meant for the skies!” Malala’s father’s influence is highlighted throughout: his love, encouragement, and support and his inspiring example. Other than the direct quotes, the prose is simple. The color palette of the pictures effectively conveys moments of hope, fear, and violence with swaths of dark gray, black and blue, patches of red, and ample white space. While most accounts of Malala’s story note that she used a pseudonym and wrote for an international blog, the illustrations in this book show her speaking on television before she was attacked by the Taliban. An ample quote from her speech at the United Nations Youth Assembly captures Malala’s message well, but the overall narrative about Malala as an individual seeking “freedom” subdues the part of her message that contextualizes her speech as one voice with and for many other voices. A detailed author’s note, timeline, biographical note, and further resources section round out this offering.

Choose this book to portray Malala as exceptional; look elsewhere to emphasize her place in a larger movement. (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-06-256077-3
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2017


ChildrenMALALA by Raphaëlle Frier
by Raphaëlle Frier
ChildrenMALALA'S MAGIC PENCIL by Malala Yousafzai
by Malala Yousafzai