Malala, Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan by Jeanette Winter
This nonfiction picture book celebrates the accomplishments of two young heroes from Pakistan. Told side-by-side, in a book that flips over, the two young people both managed to make real changes in their country. Malala Yousafzai is a very well-known heroine who fights for the rights of young women in Pakistan to have an education. Iqbal Masih has also won human rights awards and fought for the end of child slavery in the carpet industry. Both of them were shot as a result of their efforts to change their country. Tragically, Iqbal was killed while Malala survived and continues to inspire people around the world. These are examples of children who created the change their country was desperate for, changing the lives of other children through their efforts. True heroes in every sense of the word!
Winter begins each of these nonfiction stories with an Author’s Note that explains in detail the life of the young person. The story parts are told in spare text that shows on every page the ferocious pride that Winter has for their work. There is an anger on the page, one that is exactly the right tone for what is happening in their stories. While Iqbal may be lesser known to American children than Malala, their stories are so supportive of one another that the pairing strengthens both their stories. Readers may pick up the book for Malala and along the way learn of this boy whose efforts were just as amazing.
Winter’s illustrations have the feeling of framed artwork on the page. Done in strong colors, they have a beauty and straightforward nature that works well with the subject. There is a directness here that you will also feel in the writing, the two combining to make a book that hits hard at what injustice there is in the world but also at how important children can be in realizing change.
A beautiful and inspiring picture book that adds diversity and true child heroism to your shelves. Appropriate for ages 5-8.
Reviewed from copy received from Beach Lane Books.