Malala's Magic Pencil

When we're thinking about developing within our students their capacity to see themselves as agents of change, Malala's Magic pen is an important resources. This text illustrates her awareness of the dynamics in her community and her ability to devise solutions for the problems they face. This book does an excellent job of addressing the violence that happened to Malala in a way that all readers can access. She continues to speak about human rights issues and is an inspiration for us all.
-Dena

Social Justice Activities:

  • Research global access to education. Find non-profits that are working towards education for all.
  • Research Malala's Website. Read and discuss why she's choosing to invest in networks and not build schools. Highlight why investing in people who live in the communities and are doing the work rather than investing in a building is important.
  • Talk about gender stereotypes that may exist in your community. Ask students about their experiences. Find lessons on Learning for Justice, filter by grade level and gender identity.
  • Analyze what it means to be an activist. Analyze Malala's identity characteristics and connect her to activism and creating positive change in the world.

Relevant Social Justice Standards:

Diversity 10. Students will examine diversity in social, cultural, political and historical contexts rather than in ways that are superficial or oversimplified.

Justice 11. Students will recognize stereotypes and relate to people as individuals rather than representatives of groups.

Justice 12. Students will recognize unfairness on the individual level (e.g., biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g., discrimination).

Justice 13. Students will analyze the harmful impact of bias and injustice on the world, historically and today.

Justice 14. Students will recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how they have been affected by those dynamics.

Justice 15. Students will identify figures, groups, events and a variety of strategies and philosophies relevant to the history of social justice around the world.

Reading Strategies:

Cause/Effect: What does Malala notice about the community? What does that cause her to do?

Character Analysis: Analyze Malala's identity and other characteristics (she's a sister, creative, Muslim, student, generous, thoughtful, activist...).

Metaphors: What is the magic pencil a metaphor for? How has Malala created her own magic pencil in real life?

Analyze the meaning of quotes from Malala:

  • “We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”

  • “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

  • “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” .

Book Details:
  • Fiction, All Ages
  • Perspectives: Pakistani girl
  • Author's stated heritage: Pakistani
  • Subject Integration: Art, SEL, Geography

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain