I am Malala

book by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lame

review | Katie Wisniewski

“I raise up my voice not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.”

Named after Malalai of Maiwand, a great heroine of Afghanistan, Malala is one of the most notorious well-known young women of our century thus far.  She writes an excellent memoir from her home country of Pakistan.  Rich in Pashtun history, Malala tells of life growing up in the valley as a young girl.  Her younger days were spent like most children—playing games with her friends and brothers and going to school.  Like most Pakistani women, her mother grew up illiterate; however, her father was well-known in his community as an education and environmental activist.   Following in her father’s footsteps, she gains a passion for education, in particular for girls and women. 

Life in Pakistan eventually takes a slow, yet drastic turn for the worse when the Taliban take over every facet of their daily lives.  The Taliban are anti-education for females and eventually ban them from attending school.  As a teenager Malala and her father travel around speaking out about the importance of education for all of their people, they gain the attention of the Taliban.  After repeated threats, the Taliban follow through with their target and shoot her in the head.  Malala makes a miraculous recovery and has continued her education campaign.  She has won numerous awards—most notably, a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.  Her campaign has never been about notoriety; only about everybody deserving an education.  Malala’s spirit is pure throughout her writing—it is evident in the mature way she views religions, politics, and humanity.       

I am Malala

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