By David Robinson, English & History Teacher/Global Campus Leader, Nord Anglia International School Hong Kong
A new academic year is upon us! To start the year off on the right page, parents and students can jump into Nord Anglia’s Global Library, which has inspiration suggestions for books and activities to make the most of the year ahead.
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:
What is the Global Library?
It is no fairy tale to say the stories we read when we’re young profoundly influence the rest of our lives. Books don’t just help us make sense of our world; they also prepare us for academic success. Nord Anglia’s Global Library is a worldwide reading club across all 56 Nord Anglia schools, where students of all age groups can enjoy a shared reading experience through debates, competitions and reflections with a worldwide network of engaged, open minded readers. Students also have opportunities to connect with the world’s greatest writers, illustrators and thinkers either face to face or online.
The Global Library contains something for everyone, with contemporary and classic fiction, non-fiction, poetry and graphic novels included for every age group. It specifically features accessible, exciting and inspiring stories from diverse countries, and includes bilingual titles to allow students to share stories in multiple languages. Some books even supplement Nord Anglia’s global partnerships with Juilliard and MIT.
The Breadwinner and Malala’s Magic Pencil are our “One World One Book” titles for the Global Library, which means they are accompanied by Global Campus projects that tie into this year’s sustainable development goals. This way, students are even more engaged when reading.
David Robinson, one of the founders of Nord Anglia's Global Library, has more than 10 years of experience teaching IGCSE English Language and Literature and IGCSE History. He also has extensive experience in teaching the IB Diploma for both English Literature and Theory of Knowledge.