Saturday, April 5, 2014

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (with Christina Lamb)

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 has become 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.
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company 
Number of Pages: 327
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Rachel, age 18
I am Malala is an incredible book. Before reading, I only knew of Malala Yousafzai as the girl who was shot by the Taliban for standing up for education. I thought it was one instance where she'd raised her voice, one instance where she'd been threatened. But I was wrong.

The book starts at the beginning, when the Taliban first began to infiltrate Swat Valley, where young Malala lived. She shows how the Taliban infiltrated the valley, how her home transformed into ruin and brainwashed people. It's incredibly fascinating. She and her father believe a man reason the Taliban were capable was because they utilized a weakness in Swat Valley--ignorance; lack of education.

Malala comes from a really, really awesome family--an unconventional family compared to traditional terms in Pakistan. Her father runs a school for both boys and girls. But as the Taliban seek control of the Valley, with no apparent upset from the government, and kill and threaten people because of their extreme interpretation of the Quran, Malala's family suffers yet continues to help other people. They do not lower their voices, specifically Malala and her father, Ziauddin. Malala had countless interviews and even a documentary made about the Taliban threatening her education--at age eleven! When the Taliban banned school for girls in Swat Valley, Malala and her friends continue to go to school in private.

It's later, after the Taliban is supposedly removed from Swat Valley by the government, that Malala and her friends go back to regular schooling. That's when she starts receiving threats for raising her voice against the Taliban and is shot on her bus ride home. This is not a spoiler, obviously. 

But I had no idea the lengths her government, her people, and countries worldwide would go to save such a young girl. She was important, a figurehead of peace and women's rights, and already had been nominated for multiple peace prizes. Later, after her miraculous recovery in the UK, she address the UN on education for every child on her sixteenth birthday

Needless to say, she is an amazing woman. And I wholeheartedly agree with her on every point she and her father make in this book. They get their point across so clearly and well-roundedly that I find it impossible to refute. 

"Education is neither Eastern nor Western. It is human." ~Copyright Malala Yousafzai

I think this is an important book for everyone to read, but especially girls across the globe. It's empowering and thought-provoking and awe-inspiring. Even though this is technically an adult non-fiction book, except for the violence from the Taliban, this book is clean and could be read at any age, so long as he or she is a confident reader.

I'd also recommend this read for book club, as it has many topics to discuss at length. 

This book is on shelves now!
Buy Hardcover | $26.00
Happy reading!
Rachel, age 18

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~Youth Board