I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
By: Malala Yousafzai
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 don't know how to talk about this book, because to say I enjoyed it wouldn't quite be accurate. It's more like this book opened my eyes and made me see the world differently. This is nonfiction about a heroic girl who speaks up for education in her country. That's exactly how it reads. You experience what her life is like and you learn about Pakistan's history and political landscape.
This book reminds you not to take anything for granted. Not the twelve years of schooling that you are given for FREE in this country. Not the fact that you can realistically dream of a future in which you get a career in whatever field you choose, live on your own without a husband, and be treated with respect regardless of your gender.
Malala has been defending education and openly speaking out for it in a country very hostile toward the idea since she was eleven. She got death threats and STILL refused to back down.
Malala is a HERO. An inspiration. This is why we need education, to raise girls like Malala who will fight for their rights and for the rights of others. True education breeds compassion.
I'm particularly thankful for the unbiased look at America. We are not the innocent helpers we so often pretend to be. A lot of the time, we suck more than we help.
This book opens you up to the experiences of life around the world. A life that's both similar and yet so different. I love that I can sit in Midwest America and read a book that conveys life in the Middle East. Books are cool like that.
"But I think that if someone kills your brother, you shouldn't kill them or their brother, you should teach them instead."
"It does not matter what language you choose, the important thing is the words you use to express yourself."
"But I realized that even if you win three or four times, the next victory will not necessarily be yours without trying - and also that sometimes it's better to tell your own story."
"...And I began to see that the pen and the words that come from it can be much more powerful than machine guns, tanks or helicopters. We were learning how to struggle. And we were learning how powerful we are when we speak."
"In Pakistan when women say they want independence, people think this means we don't want to obey our fathers, brothers, or husbands. But it does not mean that. It means we want to make decisions for ourselves."