book review, Multicultural Children's Book Day

What Would You Do For The Right To Learn? Malala Yousafzai’s Story

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It’s nearly time, yes ….it’s nearly time for Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 27th!

Multicultural Children's Book day

We’ll be having a huge and ginormous celebration which I’ll tell you a little more about later. We wouldn’t be able to share in the joy of diverse and multicultural books and publishing if it weren’t for our generous sponsors. I have the extreme pleasure of introducing Capstone Young Readers with you who is one of our Silver Sponsors this year.

There has been a young woman who has greatly inspired me over the past few years. Her name is Malala. Though much has been written about her over the past several years, it has usually been for the young adult to adult audiences given the nature and violence of her story.

Capstone Young Readers has published the most beautiful book called For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story written by Rebecca Langston-George and illustrated by Janna Bock. The words and deeply colorful illustrations work together in concert to tell the story of a young teenage girl whose courage has become legendary.

“One Child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. ” -Malala Yousafzai

For the Right to Learn tells the story to young readers in a non-violent way that engages them into constructive conversations and inspires them to take action.

For the Right to learn

Malala lived in the Swat Valley in Pakistan which is right on the border of Afghanistan. One day the Taliban moved into the Swat Valley and her little city and forced their ideas on the people living there.

As time progressed the Taliban became more severe. They grew stronger every day using violence and intimidation. As their strength grew they announced that girls could not go to school. Malala loved school . Her father was a principle of a school and Malala loved to learn more than anything else. This was devastating news for her. The Taliban said that girls who attended school actually brought shame to their families.


Malala and her father became very vocal against the Taliban and their rules. They were brave and not frightened. In December 2008 came the news that All girls schools would be closed and starting January 15th no girls would be allowed in any schools. Then the Taliban started raining bombs down on the villages and cities destroying all schools within sight.

But bombs could not silence Malala. The British Broadcasting Corporation wanted to know what life was like for a girl in Pakistan in the Swat Valley. Malala took a pen name, Gul Makai and would read her blog post to the BBC reporter over the phone over the following two months. It first appeared in Urdu and then was translated into English. Her blog became very popular as she and her family continued to speak out against the Taliban. They created such an uprising that the Taliban agreed to let girls 10 years old and younger go to school. Malala was 11. So older girls wore the clothes of younger girls, hid their books under their shawls and snuck their way to school. Anyone caught would be killed on sight.


After much fighting, a stint in a refugee camp, Malala and her family returned home thinking the Taliban were gone. Malala had become very famous at this point and even the Bishop Desmond Tutu had nominated her for a Nobel Peace Prize. Malala returned to school and soon discovered that the Taliban were not gone. One day while riding a school bus, the Taliban entered and shot Malala in the head and two of her friends. All of them survived but Malala had a very long road to recovery.

Nearly on the verge of dying, Malala was flown out of Pakistan to Birmingham England where she has recovered fully from her attack and lives to this day with her family.

Malala however, has taken her attack by the Taliban and has come thru it and continued it forward to start a global movement for girl’s education. She and her father continue to speak about education. She has started a fund called the Malala Fund which gives money to fund education in Pakistan and other third world countries.

She is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and is a role model for all of us regardless of age that one voice with action can make all the difference in the world. She promises to continue to work toward “peace in every home” and “education for every boy and every girl in the world.”


For the Right to Learn is a story which inspires us all to be brave. I firmly believe that along with the best stories written our bookshelves need to be filled with the real life stories of those who are remarkable and extraordinary. This book qualifies as such.

Something To Do

31 million primary school aged girls are not going to school currently in the world. 32 million more girls are missing out on secondary education. In total more than 60 million girls world wide are out of school today.

When we educate a woman she ends up helping 5 or more people in her family. When we educate girls they grow into the matriarchs who not only raise a family but support a community and a region. Education for girls is one of the more important task for our planet currently along with food and clean water.

Writing Your Name:

Certain things we take for granted such as our names. Can you imagine if you didn’t know what your name looked like written down or not even be able to write your name ? How do you prove you exist if you can’t read or write your name ?

I remember growing up one of those red letter moments was when I learned to write my name. I shared in that memory and joy once again which each one of my children in turn learned to write their names.

Taking beautiful colors, and paper, maybe even some glitter, write your name beautifully and celebrate the fact that you can. 

If you should happen to sponsor a child from another country, make a beautiful poster or picture of just their name and send it to them.

The Malala Fund

Inspired by co-founders Malala and Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala Fund’s goal is to enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities. We work with partners all over the world helping to empower girls and amplify their voices; we invest in local education leaders and programmes; and we advocate for more resources for education and safe schools for every child.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Who is Malala and Where is she from ?
  2. What was Malala fighting for the right to do ?
  3. Her desire to go to school nearly cost Malala her life. Why do you think she took the risk ?
  4. Should everyone have the right to go to school ?
  5. Do you think children should be protected ?
  6. What right and protections do you think children everywhere should have ? Make a list.
  7. Discover and discuss in what ways children around the world are sometimes denied those rights.
  8. Would you be able to do what Malala did ?
  9. What can we do about it. Look at Malala’s example. Just one young girl, one voice, and a pen has changed the world. What are you willing to do ? What small thing can you contribute something to change the world. What will you say with your one voice?

10 Lessons to be Learned from Malala

This is an excerpt of an article from the Canadian Huffington Post

1. Never hesitate to raise your voice.
This message rings out loud and clear from the 16 year old humanitarian. If you don’t raise your voice, it is unlikely that anyone will hear you. And I bet you have something (or many things) to say. Share your thoughts, ideas and passions with the world.

2. Dare to dream, and let your dreams drive your actions.
Never think for a moment that any dream is too large, or too unrealistic. My friend Adam Braun says “the single most powerful element of youth is our inability to know what’s impossible.” I couldn’t agree more. Here’s my challenge to youth: don’t lose that admirable quality as you transition into adulthood.

3. Don’t hate or seek revenge.
Malala was shot on her way home from school. The Taliban gunmen attempted to kill her, and revenge is the last thing on Malala’s mind. Since I was a little kid, my mom has always said that hating is just a waste of energy. It doesn’t benefit anyone and it’s a waste of time.

4. Never give up.
For the love of all that’s good in this world, please never give up. If you care about something, or someone, no matter what happens, refuse to quit! Never give up, and seek motivation to fuel your drive. If anyone can do it, you can. Surround yourself with people and messaging that keep you going, and encourage you to never give up or lose hope.

5. Be compassionate.
If hating is the worst way to exert your energy, love is the best way to use your energy. The more you give, the more you get. Be compassionate. Tell those you love that you love them.

6. Be humble.
July 12 was declared Malala Day by the United Nations. This past summer, Malala spoke at the UN headquarters and opened with this: “Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights. There are hundreds of human rights activists and social workers who are not only speaking for human rights, but who are struggling to achieve their goals of education, peace and equality. Thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions have been injured. I am just one of them.”

7. Always be thankful.
Don’t take anything for granted. Your life. Your family. Your home. Your pencil. There’s a lot to be thankful for. Try your best not to complain about the things you may not have, and instead be thankful for all that you have, and all that you are.

8. Strive to help others.
I have a secret for you. The more good deeds you do, the better you will feel yourself. So in fact, helping others may turn into quite a selfish activity if you do it right. Before you know it, you will be stuck in a cycle of helping others, and feeling good, and helping others more, and feeling even better… Don’t believe me? Try it. I dare you.

9. Replace weakness with strength, and fear with courage.
This may appear to be one of those things that is easier said than done, but sometimes it’s just a matter of perspective. Don’t let negativity shut you down. Strive to be the strongest, best, most positive person you can be. The things you can accomplish are mind boggling!

10. Never doubt your ability to impact the world.
We live in a world of over 7-billion individuals. Each person is different. Each person on earth has something unique to offer the world. What’s your gift? What wonderful things do you have to offer? Don’t ever doubt for a second the power you have to make a difference.

Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize for what she endured and how she made that tragedy into a movement to help others.

Investigate and discover about the Nobel Peace Prize and past winners and then have a look at an excerpt of Malala’s acceptance speech.

A Great Video to Watch

There is a wonderful documentary called He Called Me Malala. It is beautifully done and tells the story with out alarming and disturbing video. It is a great resource to use along with For the Right To Learn. You can find it on Netflix and Amazon.

What do you admire most about Malala?
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14 thoughts on “What Would You Do For The Right To Learn? Malala Yousafzai’s Story

  1. I have been looking for the right book about Malala Yousafzai for my daughters. I think I just found it. This looks absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing and thank you for all that you do for diversity!

    1. It’s a wonderful book that is told in a gentle way. Hope you enjoy it and Happy Multicultural Children’s Book Day !!!

    1. It’s a nice little find. I didn’t know about it either and it’s done in such a tasteful and beautiful way.

    1. I love this book and I really want children to read this book. It’s so inspiring !!

  2. This is a lovely book and extensive review. This book gets the point across without too much detail, and the pictures are so engaging. Thank you for all the information, as well.

  3. Great review and discussion questions! I loved her book, I Am Malala. I look forward to reading this book and sharing her story with younger readers.

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