20-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who gained public attention by the age of 11 for speaking out publically about her life under the Taliban, is not only the youngest-ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and current education campaigner from Swat Valley, Pakistan, but she's also the author of new children's book designed to help inform young citizens of the world that change is possible.
The book, Malala's Magic Pencil, tells Yousafzai's story for a young audience and shows them the world view that allowed her to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times. Yousafzai speaks of her childhood and how she wished for a magic pencil that could create anything. She wants to use this pencil to make small, innocent improvements in her life until her experiences with the Taliban change her perspective and show her that the world needs fixing. Even without the magic pencil, Malala learns the magic of working hard every day to spread her message of hope.
"I have met many young children who want to know about what happened in my life and why I believe in education for all, so it was important for me to share my story with them," Malala says. "For this age, a picture book felt like the best way—to use pictures and to simplify the events in a way that younger kids can understand. There are scary parts to my story or details that are complicated to explain, but I wanted to be able to share it with a younger audience as best as I could."
Malala's Magic Pencil—which pairs Yousafzai's story withlush, warm watercolor drawings, bronze foil, and impactful life lessons, is already receiving high praise for its beautiful portrayal of one girl’s fight for her right to an education that turned into a global movement. It goes on sale October 17th, and is recommended for children between the ages of 4 and 8.
"I hope that my story inspires you to find the magic in your own life and to always speak up for what you believe in," Yousafzai writes in a note addressed to potential readers. "Magic is everywhere in the world—in knowledge, beauty, love, peace. The magic is in you, in your words, in your voice."
Lauren Pardee is Parents.com's editorial assistant.