I Am Malala

Another check mark on my “to-read” list – this book meeting the “current events” requirement of my reading challenge. And yes, education and women’s right is certainly a current event. Even in America it is something we are still battling.

This time I read about an autobiography of a girl from Pakistan – Malala Yousafzai.

If you haven’t heard of Malala, you should really go look her up. Seriously! She is 20 years old and starting college this fall, but she has been in the news since she was like 11. What really brought her to the public eye was speaking out in favor of girls attending school, which the Taliban was denying the girls in Pakistan.

Then, in 2012, as she was en route home from school, she was shot, along with two friends. She was eventually brought to the UK for treatment and recovery, and then stayed there to finish her schooling with her family.

Like the last book I read, I felt a draw to Malala, thinking we were similar despite growing up in different cultures and countries. For one, we both love school. I have known for a long time that I wanted to be a teacher. Well, I’m not one today, but I do what I feel is a close second – library tech. Instead of planning lessons for a class of 30 or so students, I plan library lessons and story time for all 650 kids that attend the school and visit the library throughout the week. No, its not quite the same, but I think it’s something I could live with, especially since reaching that teaching dream doesn’t seem to be financially reachable at the moment.

Another draw I have to Malala is that we both felt our passion for what we wanted to do in live early on. In chapter 1, Malala mentioned that though she “certainly didn’t understand politics…[she] felt a pull to the weighty world of the men.”. Then, when she was ten and learned of the death of Benzair Bhutto, she felt the calling to fight for women’s rights and education, and has been going strong ever since. For me, the call as I mentioned in the last paragraph, was teaching. I remember “playing school” during the summers, and when I grew out of the elementary-age programs at church, I went back but as a helper, preferring that to hanging out with kids my own age. Even at school, I preferred to hang out in a teacher’s classroom during lunch or after school instead of the crowded areas of the courtyard or lunch room. Perhaps why working as a library tech seems like a good replacement for being a classroom teacher – I get the aspect of planning lessons, but without all the hassle of student behaviors, as I only see classes for about 30 minutes a week.

Read my goodreads review below for some passages that stood out to me … And go check this book out! I read the young reader’s edition, but would be willing to read the ‘adult’ version as well, to learn more about Malala’s life from her own voice.

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition)I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had heard of Malala, and her story has been on my “to-read” list for some time now. I’m glad its one I can finally check off.

I like how Malala is a girl just like I am. Even though she is from a different country, culture, religion, we have similarities still. I also like how she justifies arguing with her brothers also – “…when Khushal fights with me, I oblige him.”

There were a few lines that I was drawn to:
1) In talking about moving to the upper school, Malala writes: “In a country where so many people consider it a waste to send girls to school, it is a teacher who helps you believe in your dreams.” (chapter 10) – I think this is true even in America. Teachers have such an impact on their students, more so than the teacher may ever realize.
2) When going through the ups and downs of life, the words of Malala’s father, Ziauddin, seem like encouragement when you’re scared – ‘”At night our fear is strong, jani,” he said. “But in the morning, in the light, we find our courage again.”‘ (chapter 10)
3) When Malala offers to keep a diary for the BBC about life under the Taliban and her dad is torn about his daughter being vocal about the same issue he is fighting for, her mother, Toor Pekai, seemed to side with Malala – ‘She gave us her answer with a verse from the Holy Quran. “Falsehood has to die,” she said. “And truth has to come forward.”‘ (chapter 12)
4) When learning there was a death threat against her from the Taliban, I like how Malala approached it when she saw her father was worried. She was calm, but saw her father was near tears and responded ‘”Everybody knows they will die someday. No one can stop death. It doesn’t matter if it comes from a Talib or from cancer..”…” Aba,” I said. “You were the one who said if we believe in something greater than our lives, then our voices will only multiply, even if we are dead. We can’t stop now.”‘ (chapter 20)
5) Malala’s dream, I think, is one that many others agree with, myself included – “Peace in every home, every street, every village, every country-this is my dream. Education for every boy and every girl in the world. To sit down on a chair and read my books with all my friends at school is my right. Te see each and every human being with a smile of true happiness is my wish.” – and as stated when she addressed the United Nations – “One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world.” (epilogue)

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