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The Magic Within Us

Malala's Magic Pencil written by Malala Yousafzai and illustrated by Kerascoët, published by Little, Brown, and Company.

Children are fascinated by the notion of magic, making something appear or disappear, with a swift flick of the wrist. Malala's Magic Pencil, written by Malala, reveals the magic that resides in all of us.

Malala speaks directly to the the reader about a magic pencil she used to dream of having... to draw a lock on her bedroom door so her brothers couldn't bother her or to draw a ball for them all to enjoy. These universal moments bring the reader gently into the story before Malala explains how difficult her country made it for girls to attend school. She explains in simple, accessible language how she started using her voice and her real pen and pencils to initiate positive change.

Kerascoët's illustrations depict the events in Malala's life with calming colors and soft lines. A full spread is granted to the scene when Malala simply says, "My voice became so powerful that the dangerous men tried to silence me. But they failed." The reader sees Malala from the back looking out of her hospital room window alone and then on the page turn, the palette goes from black to vibrant and cheerful, highlighting the supportive crowds that came to celebrate Malala and her courage.

Malala ends this picture book with a letter to the reader, "Dear friend,..." And by the end, she does feel like a friend. Finally, the last page offers a summary of where life has taken Malala beyond Pakistan.

Imagine It!

Malala had always wished for a magic pencil. But in the end, the magic was already inside her. Her pencil and her voice were the tools she needed to spread her message of peace.

Imagine what magic, or message, you hold inside of you. Is there something you would like to change in your school, or community, or country to make it better for everyone?

Transfer that magic through a pen, pencil, or even a paintbrush or crayons. Write a letter or create an image to send to yourself or to a friend, to the mayor or to the president (why not?) to share what's important to you and how it can make the world a better place.

Imagine a world when everyone's voice promotes peace and equality.

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