26 October 2017

In her new picture book, Malala’s Magic Pencil (illustrated by Kerascoët), Malala Yousafzai describes how, as a child in Pakistan, she made a wish for a magic pencil that she could use to redraw reality. She would use it to give gifts to her family, to erase the smell from the rubbish dump near her house, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. As she grew older, Malala wished for bigger and bigger things. She saw a world that needed fixing. Her right to attend school was threatened – just because she was a girl.  So instead of a magic pencil, Malala picked up a real one…

Inspired by the assertion that your pencil – your voice, your words, your art – can change the world we live in, we commissioned six female Instagram artists to respond to the question:

“What would you change if you had a magic pencil?”

Their responses were imaginative and diverse – from drawing species back from extinction to book vending machines and self-defence classes for girls…


Pranita Kocharekar


"‘I would draw lots of book vending machines to be installed all around the world for every adult and child to be able to experience the magical and surreal world of books!’"

Mélanie Johnsson

Mélanie Johnsson


"If I had a magic pencil, I would draw back to life all the beautiful bird species and animals with funny names that have become extinct on our planet…  This one is called a Lord Howe Swamphen, endemic to a little Australian island, and it became extinct in the early 19th Century.”

Noor Unnahar Siddique

Noor Unnahar Siddique  



“…I tried stealing the

skin of mirror. You don’t 

break what looks 

like you.”


"I would eliminate racism from my world, once and for all."

Mel Stringer

Mel Stringer


“Sometimes people say hurtful and destructive things.  Often mindlessly.  Often without a second thought.  So whilst a magic pencil would come in handy for erasing those words, I’d rather use it to re-draw the way the words make me feel.”

Nikki Miles

Nikki Miles


"This made me think about all of the little magical things in this world that make me happy like hot chocolate, rainbows and bubble baths because life to me is all about making the most of the small stuff…"

Areeba Siddique

Areeba Siddique


“If I ever found a magic pencil, I’d make women’s boxing clubs in every city of my country, so that women could learn more about this sport and their self-defence.”

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