Frier, Raphaele Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education. PICTURE BOOK. Charlesbridge, 2017. $17.99. Content: G.
This is the picture book biography of Malala Yousafzai. Readers learn about her childhood and the changes in her country as the Taliban influence and threats spread. Next readers discover that even as a young girl she began her activism for women’s education, and how the Taliban reacted towards that. Finally readers discover that Malala has not given up and is stronger and more vocal than ever. The pages are brightly colored and fully illustrated.
We need a picture book biography of Malala, but this is not the one. Its definitely for upper elementary or middle school, with tons of content and current event context needed beforehand. It skips a ton of things that I think are important, for example; it describes that her father runs a school for girls, but doesn’t mention if she goes to the school or not, then completely leaving out how powerful her education must have been (I am assuming) for her and how it influenced her strong views. It also brings up the Qur’an with zero context, so if students hadn’t learned about the Islamic religion, they would be very confused. The illustrations are bright but not my favorite, with off-putting odd angles and a lack of detail. I think better illustrations would have brought home the fact that this is a true story and given it more of a real life (rather than a fictional) feel.