United Nations declared July 12, 2013 Malala Day to honor the fifteen-year-old education rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Malala Yousafzai. Every Day is Malala Day is a photography picture book created by Rosemary McCarny, leader of the Plan International Canada Team. The images are of young women from around the globe, each either labeled by country on the page or in the photo credits in the back. The text comes from letters written to Malala from youth around the world, and famously begins: “Dear Malala – We have never met before, but I feel like I know you. I have never seen you before, but I’ve heard your voice. To girls like me, you are a leader who encourages us. And you are a friend.” A video of the letters that inspired the book can be seen here.
The book is designated by the publisher for ages 5-8, which I would say is in regards to presentation and language reading level. The text discusses the shooting, how bullets are used to “silence girls” but that they are not the only means: early marriage, poverty, discrimination, violence are all named in the book, each with its own symbolic photographic subject. The full color photography on each page is rich – visually and culturally. The compositions are simple, but the message and emotional impact of each is strong.
The book ends, of course, with words of hope, courage, and empowerment. Also included in the book is an excerpt from the speech Malala gave on July 12 to the UN. I think it would be great to share this with young children, since the message is one that should begin at an early age for all if there is going to be any hope of changing attitudes across cultures.
The book was published by Second Story Press in conjunction with McCarny and Plan International, a charity organization started in 1937 to end global poverty. Because I Am A Girl is Plan’s global initiative to end gender inequliaty, promote girls’ rights and lift young girls out of poverty. October 11, 2012 marked the first international Day of the Girl which continues its campaign to ensure girls around the globe receive a minimum of nine years of quality education.