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"Maslo creates a sensitive overview of Malala Yousafzai’s life in this picture-book biography for young readers. “She wanted to be free, like the kites. She wanted to fly,” Maslo writes. “Malala will be free as a bird!”
Complementing the inspirational text are whimsical illustrations depicting Malala growing up outside the cultural confines of girls in Pakistan. Malala was encouraged to fly free by her parents as she sought to further her education. The story progresses showing the tumultuous times of the Taliban, whose extremist ideas include destroying all-girl schools.
The art seamlessly flows into darker hues and tense emotions as it culminates in Malala’s miraculous brush with death (handled fairly abstractly). The resolution switches back to lighter hues as Malala’s determination sets in.
An awe-inspiring tribute to the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever, and a solid introduction for younger readers to a different religion, culture, and fight for women’s rights."
"In Maslo’s picture-book debut, she frames Malala’s story around the concept of freedom. The book opens with a quote from Malala’s father: “I did not clip her wings, and that’s all.” It ends with another quote from him as well: “Don’t you think she is meant for the skies!” Malala’s father’s influence is highlighted throughout: his love, encouragement, and support and his inspiring example. Other than the direct quotes, the prose is simple.
The color palette of the pictures effectively conveys moments of hope, fear, and violence with swaths of dark gray, black and blue, patches of red, and ample white space.
While most accounts of Malala’s story note that she used a pseudonym and wrote for an international blog, the illustrations in this book show her speaking on television before she was attacked by the Taliban. An ample quote from her speech at the United Nations Youth Assembly captures Malala’s message well, but the overall narrative about Malala as an individual seeking “freedom” subdues the part of her message that contextualizes her speech as one voice with and for many other voices.
A detailed author’s note, timeline, biographical note, and further resources section round out this offering."