Malala’s Magic Pencil

31932921Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai

My rating: ? of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: October 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 5+
Genres & Themes: Picture Books, Education, Culture


This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala’s story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.


I feel very conflicted about this book. I rarely *not* rate titles, since I absolutely love giving my opinion on books and ratings are what people first see when they look at reviews, but this book is not at all what I expected, and yet, I’m not at all surprised.

The problem is that it doesn’t introduce anything new. Those that know a little bit about Malala will understand. I read her memoir (the young readers edition) last year, so I couldn’t wait to start this book, because I thought it would be an heartfelt tale. It is—if I look at this book objectively.

But that’s impossible. I’m not omniscient. My opinion cannot be the world’s opinion, if that makes sense. Of course I’m going to look at this book with my own personal eyes and think my own personal thoughts. And what my mind is telling me is that this book is a condensed replica of this author’s other works.

Image result for malala's magic pencil

Actually and unfortunately, it’s like a summary of her memoir (the young readers edition). She talks about the TV show she used to love watching as a child, her love of education and how she became a symbol of hope and equality—eventually winning the Nobel Prize.

That’s all very interesting and indeed heartfelt, but this book didn’t make me feel anything because her memoir already introduced me to all of this. I think it’s great that there’s a memoir for adults, one for young readers, and now a picture book for children, since Malala’s story deserves to be told, but I also can’t help but feel like it’s cheap to retell her story over and over again without including different new elements. I doubt Malala even wrote this book. I’m sure the writing was taken from the memoirs and edited to fit this format.

I do recommend it to children who have never heard of Malala or don’t know much about her accomplishments, but I am quite disappointed in the content. Lovely illustrations, though, and as always, powerful themes.

PS. Because of this, I am sadly glad it did not win the Goodreads Choice Awards.


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One thought on “Malala’s Magic Pencil

  1. As always, I appreciate the honesty in your review. I’m sorry you were disappointed that there was not any new content. It does seem like an exploitation to come out with all these different formats of Malala’s story, but on the other hand it is nice that now readers at every stage can read about her life & message… plus those illustrations look stunning!


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