A MEMOIR BY THE YOUNGEST RECIPIENT OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
As seen on Netflix with David Letterman
"I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday."
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.
On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.
Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.
I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.
I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Upon awakening from a medically induced coma in a British hospital, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai starts to piece together the events that carried her so far away from her home in Pakistan’s remote Swat Valley. I Am Malala details the heroic story of how she came to defy the Taliban by becoming a spokesperson for girls’ education—and was shot in the head for standing up for her convictions. This utterly compelling memoir alternates between fascinating insight into the radical Islamization of the author’s beloved region and the diary-like observations of a headstrong teenager with a thing for the Twilight series, the color pink, and her backpack full of textbooks. Among all the tragedy and horrors that befall Malala’s homeland, her portrayal of her remarkable parents offers a beacon of hope. It’s thanks to the love and support of her illiterate, devout, and compassionate mother (whose charity to relatives, neighbors, and strangers knows no bounds) and her determined and open-minded father (who fights tooth and nail to run a school for both boys and girls) that this amazing survivor has become a globally recognized advocate for human rights.
Adapted with McCormick (Never Fall Down) from the adult bestseller, this inspiring memoir by activist Yousafzai sketches her brave actions to champion education in Pakistan under the Taliban. Her father runs a school in the Swat Valley, where Malala proves an eager student; as the Taliban gains influence, she increasingly becomes an international spokesperson for girls' right to learn. The narrative begins with a prologue in which a Taliban gunman boards her school bus and asks, "Who is Malala?" The authors then offer insight into the cultural and political events leading up to the shooting that followed and Yousafzai's dramatic recovery. Yousafzai highlights the escalating tensions as the Taliban takes hold including the strictures against girls attending school, the obliteration of Western influence, violence, and the eventual war but also brings the universal to life as she quarrels with her brothers, treasures her best friend, and strives to earn top grades. A glossary, color photo inserts, and an extensive timeline help establish context. It's a searing and personal portrait of a young woman who dared to make a difference. Ages 10 up.
Profile in Courage
When I first heard the story of Malala Yousafzai, I was at home surrounded by my all of western creature comforts. I could not believe that for all the struggles in the world, that cowards would try to kill a girl simply seeking to learn. In this memoir though, Malala layers an intricate story that illuminates the delicate balance between tribal history, national customs, superstitions, ignorance, and power plays that lay the foundation for the radicalization of the disenfranchised into extremism. In some ways, if you look around the landscape of America, particularly at our echo chambers where disinformation and conspiracy theories thrive, you can see that we are not so safe from our own flavor of extremism. Even worse, we seem perpetually one election away from a future that more closely resembles The Handmaid’s Tale, than an idealized style of western liberalism.
At every turn Malala shows how danger hovers around all those who pursue education, but at the same time, the promise of how empowering an education can be draws the young girls back to the classroom. Their courage to keep learning is mirrored by the incompetence around them and successive failures of politicians to develop and protect areas like Swat. You can’t help but wonder that if education and opportunity would have been available to all, that the allure and power of militant groups would have seem backward in comparison. In the absence of a stronger and more just government presence, you see how the dream of what Pakistan’s founder wanted for it, is still being fought for on the ground by everyday people like Malala and her father.
I like to say I have had the fortune of being to many parts of the globe that fall into the 2nd and 3rd world category. That travel has made me more appreciative of what I have and disdainful of people complaining about their First world problems. Memoirs like this one and “The New Odyssey” really remind me to be grateful. They also remind us to fight for the just betterment of our little piece of Earth right here. So that opportunity is kept fair and equitable and injustice kept at bay.
As a teacher, I wish all students felt this way about their education. Malala makes you remember how very much we, as westerners, can take for granted! Here's a young lady who can truly change the way things are with regards to education in these countries. The Taliban can't silence her! If anything, they've amplified her voice ten-fold!