Ceramic Art with "Malala's Magic Pencil"


By Carol Petrucci

I am a ceramic artist. I conduct an afterschool clay class for 5-8 year olds at the Greenbelt Community Center in Greenbelt, MD. February 4-8th, 2019 was the National Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action campaign taking place in cities across the U.S. I wanted to lead my group in an activity for this event but I was not sure how to approach it with such young children. Fortunately, The D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice has links to some amazing resources to teach children of all ages about the principles of Black Lives Matter at School.

Laleña Garcia is is a kindergarten teacher who has written about how to talk to young children about these issues. One of the guiding principles of Black Lives Matter is Globalism. She states that “Globalism means that we are thinking about all the different people all over the world, and thinking about the ways to keep things fair everywhere.”

Keeping this in mind, I was inspired by a book by Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai called, “Malala’s Magic Pencil”. In this lovely children’s book, she talks about how she used her writing and voice to fight oppression and make change for girls in her community.

The students and I read this book together. Next, we talked about having magic clay that we could use to make things better for all kids everywhere. We created a community piece called “I wish all kids had…”. Each of my class members wrote and carved on a clay slab their wish for kids all over the world. They came up with things like education, health, homes and a place to sleep. I took each section and created a large sculpture that illustrates each student’s contribution to the whole. Each child colored their section as they like. We will be sending a message and pictures to Malala’s Instagram account and we hope to display this piece along with the book at the Greenbelt library.

We had a great time. Now we have a statement piece about things children need around the world.

Tue2019Allison Acosta