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Book Rec: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Updated: 5 days ago

"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. I Am Malala is her story.


picture of teenage malala in a pink hijab

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-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.


I sometimes struggled with the depictions of the West and America’s actions in the middle of the war. But I think it’s important to read stories like Malala’s to better understand those around us, even on the other side of the planet. Malala’s desire for education and her remarkable fight for freedom are certainly commendable and worth a read!


Discussion Guide

  1. Malala’s strong relationship with her parents, especially her father, is a strong motivator for her path in life. How does Malala’s courage mirror her own father’s? How does their constant assurance and confidence in her help forge her own actions?

  2. Throughout the book Malala provides insight into the Pashtun culture, including their hosting mentality which may ultimately have helped keep Osama bin Laden hidden. How does her insights into the local culture help your understanding of Pakistan? What cultural traditions were notable?

  3. Malala argues that education is a basic human right. Do you agree? What happens when a group of people are denied education?

  4. After Malala is shot, she and her family immigrate to the UK. There they face major cultural shock. In what ways was life different from her Swat valley? Do you think she is an effective advocate for female education in the Middle East while living in the West?


If you enjoyed this book, check out Educated by Tara Westover or Strong Girls, Strong World next!

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