This is a double book telling the story of Malala and Iqbal, two children who were injured whilst standing up against injustice.
Malala, is reasonably well known but the story of Iqbal is less familiar.
Iqbal was taken to work in a factory from the age of 4 as he had been used as security against a loan taken out by his parents. Several years later, he attended a Builder’s Union meeting and discovered that for the past few years, he had been kept working illegally but due to a corrupt government and police force the law had never been enforced. He spoke to the crowd and they rallied to get him and his fellow slaves free.
Iqbal then traveled the country and the world, speaking out against child slavery and it is estimated that over 3000 children escaped after hearing his story. He also traveled abroad to tell his story and wanted to become a lawyer to fight for all bonded children to be free.
At the young age of 13 he was shot dead.
For those unfamiliar with Malala’s tale, she and some other girls, continued her education in the face of great obstacles, including being shot in the head. The world, inspired by her story pulled together to transport her to the UK where she survives and now travels the globe, telling her story and raising support for girls who do not get an education. She is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner.
We did two sessions on this book, both exploring the theme of standing up for justice.
The session on Iqbal can be found here. Malala to follow.
Written by the grandson of Mahatma Ghandi, Grandfather Ghandi is a story of a very personal moment in a very public life. Arun and his family have left their fairly typical life to live in his grandfather’s village. Arun is happy and excited to be living with his grandfather but he does not fit in very well as the way of life is not what he is used to.
One day he loses his temper at another child and feels he has let down his family name. “How could he, a Ghandi, be so easy to anger?” His grandfather explained in a beautiful manner that everyone, even he, feels anger but it is how you channel the anger that matters.
We really liked this book, the illustrations are evocative of a hot and dusty environment and the story was easy for the children to relate to. It assumes some prior knowledge of Mahatma Ghandi, which I didn’t cover. This would have helped with the children’s understanding of the situation at the start of the book and the reverence that he was held in, but the story itself is of the relationship between a grandson and grandfather and this came across well with the children.
We had a conversation about why people get angry and what happens when they do. Also about how to channel the energy of anger in useful ways rather than destructive ones.
The children were then invited to draw pictures depicting how it feels to be angry, here are some of the images created.
‘And Tango Makes Three‘ is the gorgeous true story about two male penguins at the New York Central Park Zoo who set up nest together and were given an abandoned egg to care for.
The illustrations work so well with the tone of the story telling and I think it is a lovely book for any child or church children’s bookshelf.
We had worked from books for several weeks so to mix things up a bit, I showed this YouTube video of the story.
Suggested Craft Activities
This is a really simple penguin craft if you are short of time.
Toilet Roll Penguin
This is the craft we did, it’s also simple but a little bit more fiddly so best for those with better cutting skills (age 5+) and a longer session. We needed quite a bit of adult guidance to get these done in time
The Family Book by Todd Parr is a colourful book showing how families can be different while maintaining the essential things that make a family a family. It saddens me that this is a banned book in some places because of it’s references to same sex parents.
Parr uses a variety of animals and people to show every type of family I can think of without placing any as better, or more normal, or different unusual than others. This is one of my toddler’s favourite books because of it’s bright colours and simple images but the children in our group (eldest is 6) all enjoy it and it’s one that gets asked for when it’s free choice story time.
This is one of my favourite pages as it touches on a big subject but is open to interpretation so the children can understand on may levels.
Todd Parr has written several books in this style, I’m looking forward to reading the rest of his work.