Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summer Reading 2015 For the Right to Learn


This is a great picture biography for elementary schools. It focuses on Malala's love of learning and her desire to go to school. Although it talks about the Taliban and their threats, and the attack on the school bus, it does not go into gory details that would be distressing for younger readers. The shooting itself is not shown, only some drops of blood on a school book represents the incident. A scene of Malala in the hospital shows her in bed with a bandage on her head and stuffed animals and other gifts from well-wishers all around the room. What comes through clearly is her joy in going to school and her determination to stand up for everyone's basic right to an education.

The illustrations are well done and show the beauty of the Swat Valley juxtaposed with the sad sight of school walls riddled with bullet holes or the scene of families fleeing from the Taliban. Readers also find out about Malala's mother deciding to learn to read as an adult, underscoring the fact that this young woman is an inspiration to people of all ages. There are additional facts in the afterword, including Benazir Bhutto's children giving Malala some of their mother's shawls.

This is short enough to be read aloud for a class, whether they are studying biographies or looking at examples of character traits such as courage and integrity. 

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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