Puffin is publishing a picture book by Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani blogger who survived being shot by the Taliban for supporting girls' education in 2012 and went on to become the youngest-ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Malala's Magic Pencil is the campaigner's first picture book and will be Puffin's lead title this Autumn, aimed at young children between 4 and 7 years old. Illustrated by husband-and-wife team, Sebastien Cosset and Marie Pommepuy, better known as Kerascoët, the book is about the author’s dream for a magic pencil to make the world a better place, and promises to inspire children through the telling of Yousafzai's story and her vision for a better world.
"At first, Malala wanted to use her magic pencil to solve problems like the smell of the rubbish dump near her home and to make everyone in her family happy. But as she grew older, she saw a world that needed fixing, with many important things to wish for – and she realised that even if she never found a magic pencil, she could still work every day to make her wishes come true," reads the book's blurb in a release from Puffin.
Yousafzai's memoir, I Am Malala, co-written with Christina Lamb, was published by Orion in October 2013 and received huge press attention. Between the two editions of the book, another written with Patricia McCormick for the children's market, Yousafzai racked up overall sales of 306,355 copies through Nielsen BookScan for £2.29m. A picture book about Malala, Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan/ Iqbal a Brave Boy from Pakistan, published with Simon and Schuster Children’s Books in November 2014 but was authored by Jeanette Winter, making Malala's Magic Pencil Yousafzai's first picture book.
Yousafzai said she wanted to "inspire" younger children to believe in themselves and to recognise that their voices can make a difference through the title. "The team at Puffin and Penguin Random House Children’s UK share my belief and it means a lot to me that they want to spread this message far and wide," she said.
Anna Barnes, commissioning editor, acquired UK and Commonwealth English language rights from Janelle DeLuise at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in the US.
Barnes said: "Malala Yousafzai is an inspiration for girls and women around the world and I am so proud to be publishing Malala’s Magic Pencil, brilliantly illustrated by Kerascoët. This book will bring her all-important message to an even younger audience, telling our children that, through the magic of our words, we all have the power to change the world. It is a very special book and I can’t wait to share it."
Francesca Dow, m.d. of Penguin Random House Children’s UK, added: "Malala’s Magic Pencil is a very special picture book with a vital message for children – that words are powerful and that the smallest act can make a big difference. Malala is a beautiful writer and an inspirational figure. We are honoured and delighted to have her as a Puffin author."