My admiration for Malala Yousafzai began a few weeks ago when I viewed the viral video of her on The Daily Show withJon Stewart. At the age of 16, she was more genuine, articulate, poised, and courageous sitting on that stage than many adults. Within minutes of watching the video clip, I downloaded her book “I am Malala” and my view of the world was changed forever.
The story of Malala and her family, written with Christina Lamb, is a powerful read about the beauty of Pakistan’s Swat Valley and the ugliness that overcame it as the Taiban rose to power. She begins by bringing us back to the time when her parents met, the events that took place over the course of their lives together, and then into more recent times when the Valley entered the dark days of Taliban rule. She speaks of the unimaginable atrocities that occurred to the people of Pakistan at the hands of the terrorists and the impact, not only on her country, but the entire world. We learn about Malala’s father, mother, brothers, and many other family members and friends; each so important to her in their own way. As she recounts the experiences they’ve had, I continually found myself in awe of both their individual and collective strength and determination. I was incredibly inspired by their ability to not only survive but thrive in truly unthinkable conditions.
At the heart of this story is Malala’s fight for the rights of children to attend school, especially female children. Speaking out about her belief in this cause nearly cost Malala her life, when she was shot in the head by a Talib while riding home on the school bus. Eventually, she was flown to England to receive care and she has recovered remarkably well. Malala and her family long to go back to the Swat Valley but, for now, they are still living in Birmingham where she is attending school. Due to Malala’s bravery, she has become a symbol of oppressed women and the incredible power of perseverance. Malala continues to advocate for educating girls, recently becoming the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. At a very young age, Malala found her purpose in speaking all over the world about peace and literacy and by becoming the voice of those who would not be heard. The Taliban tried to silence her but, through the unyielding strength she has demonstrated and the support shown by the millions who have rallied around her, Malala’s message is now louder than ever.
Buy the book:
Buy the book: