Choose this book to portray Malala as exceptional; look elsewhere to emphasize her place in a larger movement.

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THE STORY OF MALALA

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. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-256077-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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A galloping marvel—enlightening and entertaining.

DR. SEUSS'S HORSE MUSEUM

A succinct introduction to art history via a Seussian museum of equine art.

This posthumously published text recently discovered in Ted Geisel’s studio uses horse-focused art pieces to provide historical context to artistic movements. Showing art ranging from the Lascaux cave paintings to an untitled 1994 sculpture by Deborah Butterfield, Joyner’s playful illustrations surround the curated photographs of art pieces. By using horses as the departing point in the artistic journey, Seuss and Joyner are able to introduce diverse perspectives, artifacts, and media, including Harnessed Horse from the northern Wei dynasty, a Navajo pictorial blanket titled Oh, My Beautiful Horses, and photographs by Eadweard Muybridge. Questions to readers prompt thought about the artistic concepts introduced, aided by a cast of diverse museumgoers who demonstrate the art terms in action. Joyner further engages readers by illustrating both general cultural and Seussian references. Glimpses of the Cat in the Hat are seen throughout the book; he poses as a silent observer, genially guarding Seuss’ legacy. For art enthusiasts, some illustrations become an inside joke, as references to artists such as Alexander Calder, Salvador Dalí, Marina Abramovic, and René Magritte make appearances. Thorough backmatter contains notes on each art piece referenced along with a study of the manuscript’s history and Seuss’ artistic style. Absent, probably unsurprisingly, is any acknowledgment of the Cat’s antecedents in minstrelsy and Seuss’ other racist work, but prominent among the museumgoers are black- and Asian-presenting characters as well as a girl wearing hijab and a child who uses a wheelchair.

A galloping marvel—enlightening and entertaining. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55912-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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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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