Thursday, November 6, 2014

Malala a Brave Girl from Pakistan / Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan by Jeanette Winter (Simon and Schuster Children's Books)

Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan & Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan

Written and Illustrated by
Jeanette Winter
Published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books

Today sees the launch of an extremely special children's book that had us both huddled up in a big cuddle, trying not to cry. It's a hugely important book and tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who faced up to the harsh realities of life under constant threat from The Taliban. Malala wanted to go to school, to learn, and to enjoy life just like any other child but The Taliban forbade education for women. Malala strove to learn - often in secret, and on one fateful journey to school was shot by the Taliban. Thankfully for Malala, her plight caught the attention of the international community and Malala was airlifted to hospital to recover from her injuries. Malala went on to speak at the United Nations and has become a hugely important campaigner for women and children's educational rights.

This book is unique in that it also tells the story of young Iqbal Masih, a boy also living in Pakistan where children as young as 4 were sold into bond to settle family debts, and often had to work in harsh and horrible conditions, enduring long hours of painstaking and backbreaking work.

Though Iqbal lived to see bonded labour laws prohibited by the Pakistan Supreme Court, Iqbal continued to speak out and became a vociferous campaigner for children's rights. Iqbal was tragically shot and killed aged just 12 years old.

Both stories are told in a level and non-judgemental way and really bring home the succinct point that both children were extremely brave in the face of overwhelming adversity, their situations too horrible to imagine.

The toughest part was when we came to the end of each story. Malala's story is well known, and this plucky and brave little girl has gone on to talk at the United Nations, and jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize this year. Iqbal's story was harder to come to terms with (Charlotte likened what he had to endure to being like the Victorian children who had to work in factories and mills in this country in the 19th century).

Two affecting stories, extremely well written and beautifully illustrated. This book deserves to find a place in every school and library.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Simon and Schuster Children's Books)

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