Monday, March 16, 2015

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick - Young Reader's Edition

Genre: Memoir
Grade Level: 4-7
Interest Level: 4-8
Themes: education, freedom for children,girls/women, human rights,  standing up for what you believe, courage, perseverance, gratitude
Culture(s): Pakastani, children/youth, girls/women

“To those children all over the world who have no access to education, to those teachers who bravely continue teaching, and to anyone who has fought for their basic human rights and education.”
                                                                          Malala Yousafzai

Malala’s story of courage, steadfastness and survival has touched the hearts of millions, so I was delighted on a recent bookstore trip with my 10 year old when she picked this up and then proceeded to devour it (without waiting for our nightly bedtime reading as I had hoped). Mind you, this is a 10 year old that I usually have to cajole into finding AND reading a book, so it was significant that she discovered this on her own. She remembered that  Malala had won a prize, said that she was very pretty and she wanted to find out more about her. 

This young readers edition of Malala’s courage and triumph has important instructional possibility for middle grade readers. The Common Core’s focus on informational text makes it a great choice. It includes a map of Pakistan, Swat and surrounding areas, as well as color photos of Malala, her family, and Pakistan. The photos would work well for pre-reading/during reading discussion or quick write. The book is divided  into five parts, and includes a time line of important events. All of these elements would work well with a study of informational text features, and/or in dividing reading and instruction according to the lesson focus or themes.

When I asked my daughter what she liked about Malala’s story, she said “It’s about every girl just wanting to be a regular girl…you know, go to school, watch Twilight or her other favorite shows, and hang out with her family/friends. Some girls can’t do that because of the Taliban. That’s not right, and Malala is trying to fix it.” 

Validate, Affirm, Build and Bridge with I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World.

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