Before the events that brought her to international recognition, Malala Yousafzai spent her summer holidays together with her family watching an Indian children’s TV show about a magic pencil, which could be used to redraw reality. This memory inspired Malala to write her first picture book Malala’s Magic Pencil (4 years and up) which tells her own story in a sensitive, child-friendly style. It explores how we can all hold on to hope in the most difficult of times and help build a world where all our dreams can be fulfilled. The book is beautifully illustrated and makes a great conversation starter for families to share ideas for the world we want to create and how we would use our own magic pencils.
In her speech to the United Nations in 2013, Malala memorably said, “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world”. She later added that “The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis (11 years up) is the one book I wish all students would read.”
The Breadwinner tells the compelling story of Parvana, a young girl who must cut off her hair and disguise herself as a boy to become the breadwinner for her family when her father is unfairly imprisoned in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. This is the perfect story to broaden the perspective of young adults and comes recommended by no less than Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie. It was recently turned into a compelling Oscar nominated film and graphic novel. Later in the year, Nord Anglia’s Global Campus Online will feature exclusive interviews and student-led discussions with author Deborah Ellis, so now is the perfect time to read this book.
Given the complex and conflicting world around us, it is more important than ever that our young people have role models to look up to and inspire their own life choices. Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls (6 years and up) has become a publishing phenomenon as the most successfully crowdfunded book of all time. It tells the stories of celebrated role models such as the Malala and JK Rowling and many less well known but equally important women in the style of short fairy tales. What is more, the authors have turned the stories into free-to-download podcasts, which are perfect to listen to while travelling, on the beach or at bedtime.
These three titles are all supported by excellent free resources which can be downloaded and shared with children to explore and discuss the important issues they raise.
Suggested Free Online Reading Guides and Resources: