Free as a Bird: The Story of Malala

by Lina Maslo

“I did not clip her wings, and that’s all.” This quote from Malala... read more

“I did not clip her wings, and that’s all.” This quote from Malala Yousafzai’s father opens a picture-book account of Malala’s life and accomplishments to date. Born into Pakistani culture that values girls less, Malala thrived in a family that valued her without reservation. She began advocating for girls’ education while still a girl herself. When she and her father were threatened by “a new enemy in Pakistan” it didn’t silence them. The threats escalated and Malala was harmed. An account that focuses on the strength of Malala and her family is spare in the details of the trauma (only the endnote explains she was shot), but the affecting acrylic and ink illustrations change dramatically at that point, going from airy and light to abstract and heavy, shifting back as she begins to recover and speaks out again. “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful,” says Malala in the closing quote, which is followed by the author’s note and a timeline. (Ages 7–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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