I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, is the self-told story about the young girl from Pakistan who stood up for education under Taliban power. This girl is the same one who said, “The Taliban are not our rulers. It’s my life; how I live it is my choice.”
Malala’s powerful young voice is able to speak up for girls who hardly have the opportunity to learn. This is her story.
Malala was born and raised in Swat Valley, Pakistan. This is where the tale takes place. The beauty of the region is captured so perfectly that when she speaks of the destruction brought by the Taliban, you cry not only for the people and the injustice but for the land as well.
Malala does not make you wait for the climax of the story. On the first page, in her prologue, she explains the day she almost died. She speaks about being in Birmingham, England and fearing that she will never go back home to her beautiful Swat Valley.
She was shot when she was only 15-years-old. At this point, we learn later in the book, she had already been advocating for girls’ educational rights and the right to knowledge for all. She spoke publicly about the right for girls to attend school and was even featured on the BBC, as an anonymous schoolgirl, writing diary entries about what it was like to live under the Taliban. She was even profiled in a New York Times documentary called, “Class Dismissed: Malala’s Story”.
Malala weaves her story in and out of family life, culture, values, political governance within her country, life under Taliban rule and her personal ambitions. While the story is so compelling and the content is what we might deem “mature,” Malala reminds readers that she’s still a teenage girl. She reminds us that while she’s fighting for her education she is also thinking about boys and Twilight movies.
It’s a constant reminder, to me at least, that I’m so blessed and sheltered in comparison. I never had to worry that on my way to school I might be attacked by corrupt and powerful people. I never was told that just because I was a girl, I had no right to learn.
Edited by Intizar Khadim