I Am Malala

How one girl stood up for education and changed the world

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I Am Malala Summary

I Am Malala is an autobiography, with help from Patricia McCormick, about the life of Malala Yousafzai. Malala Yousafzai is a young Pakistani activist who spoke out against the Taliban and for girls' education.

Early Life and Childhood

Malala was born on July 12th, 1997 in Swat Valley, Pakistan. Her life started out as relatively normal. She went to school, had friends, and lived with her parents and brothers in Swat Valley. However, when she was 9 years old, a devastating earthquake shook her world, literally. After the earthquake, a mullah (a Muslim that's an expert on Islamic theology and sacred law) named Maulana Fazullah took advantage of the country's distress and began preaching that the earthquake was a sign from God. He said if the country didn't follow his interpretation of the Islamic religion, then God will send another disaster. The Taliban's troops were sent into Pakistan to limit people's rights, especially women's rights, like what they wear, their education, healthcare, and their hobbies. The Taliban prevented girls from going to school and learning. Malala traveled to school in secret, and hid her books underneath her clothes. The Taliban were oppressing the freedom of the people in Pakistan. They justified their actions by saying it was God's will. Also, the radio mullah attacked people who disagreed with the Taliban. Malala recalled, "Soon Fazullah's attacks became personal. He announced the names of men who'd spoken out against him. People we knew. People we didn't know. People who were campaigning for peace in the valley, but also people who thought they were having private conversations. They were all suddenly-- publicly-- called sinful. It was as if the Radio Mullah and his men could see through walls," (Yousafzai 41).

Soon, the Taliban began to bomb buildings, especially schools, and publicly whip anyone who didn't follow their rules. The situation spiraled out of control quickly. Malala, as a young child, knew this oppression wasn't okay. When she was 11 years old, she wrote an anonymous diary and published it in the newspapers. The diary described her daily life, and how the Taliban affected it negatively. That started her campaign for girls' education. Malala was getting a lot of publicity from the media that the Taliban didn't like. One day, Malala's father got a call from people who interviewed Malala and supported her cause. The Taliban had posted a direct death threat on the internet.

It was a normal day on October 9th, 2012. Malala was riding on a bus to school. Suddenly, armed men appeared outside the bus, demanding the location of Malala. She doesn't remember anything after that, but people told her that the soldiers raised their guns and shot her in the face.


Malala woke up in a hospital after being in a coma for 16 days. The left side of her face was swollen, and she couldn't speak or smile. After she recovered enough to talk, her family filled in the blanks.

After being shot, Malala was rushed to the emergency room. Her head was badly damaged and needed to undergo surgery. She was flown to Birmingham, England where the medical equipment and doctors required for the surgery were located. People from all over the world sent her their get well soon wishes. Famous people, people she didn't even know, her friends, and her neighbors all reached out to her. By trying to silence Malala, the Taliban actually did the opposite. Malala and her cause gets world recognition. People are fighting for education. Malala currently lives in an apartment with her family in Birmingham, England. She hopes to return to Pakistan one day, when it is safe, to visit her home, friends, and family.

On October 10th, 2014, Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at only 17 years old. She is the youngest person ever so far to win the peace prize. Also, she started the Malala fund, which donates money to kids who can't get education. Malala's dream is for everyone to receive an education. She's going to do everything she can to make it happen.

He Named Me Malala Official Trailer 1 (2015) - Documentary HD

Character Analysis

Malala Yousafzai is a girl from Pakistan that became famous by standing up for what she believes in. She's 18 years old, and was born on July 12th, 1997 in Swat Valley, Pakistan. She lives with her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, her mother, Tor Pekai Yousafzai, and her younger brothers, Khushal and Atal. Malala has long, dark hair and dark skin with brown eyes. Her personality is courageous, selfless, faithful, and responsible. From a very young age, she knew what the Taliban was doing was wrong. What she went through as a child made her grow up a bit faster and made her responsible. Malala wrote, "As I looked at the TV, a tiny voice in my heart whispered to me: "Why don't you go there are fight for women's rights? Fight to make Pakistan a better place?" (Yousafzai 55). Malala was born into a religious family, so she prays for help for the people affected by the Taliban. Her faith is strong. Finally, it takes a ton of courage to stand up to the Taliban and for girls' education. She put herself in harm's way for the good of others. That was extremely selfless of Malala.

Conflict and resolution

The type of conflict Malala faced was character vs. society. Malala faced oppression from the Taliban. They prevented her from going to school, wearing certain clothes, buying certain things, and going outside without a male family member. Malala wouldn't have any of it, and spoke out against their ways. The Taliban shot her for trying to stand up to them. The conflict is still going on, but Malala has recovered and is safe in Birmingham, England. She lives in an apartment and goes to school there. Malala says, "It was so good to be home with my family, even though this home was an apartment in a tall building with an elevator. I would have given anything to be in our humble old house, tapping on the wall for Safina to come and play, even taking the rubbish to the dump; but what really mattered was that we were finally together again," (Yousafzai 172).


The theme of I Am Malala is don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. Malala stood up against the all-powerful Taliban and lives to tell the tale. This shows that even just raising awareness can have a big effect and greatly impact a lot of people's lives. Another message the reader can take away from reading this novel is don't take what you have for granted. Someone here in the United States may think going to school is a normal, everyday thing given to you, and they might not appreciate the right to go to school. Over in Pakistan, people have to fight for basic rights. Malala wrote, ""I am representing good Muslims," the mufti said. "And we all think your girls' high school is a blasphemy. You should close it. Teenage girls should not be going to school. They should be in purdah,"" (Yousafzai 32). Purdah means the segregation or seclusion of women. Girls in Pakistan had to have enough courage to stand up to the religious preachers and go to school behind their backs.

Textual Evidence

"Who is Malala? I am Malala, and this is my story," (Yousafzai 7).

This is my favorite quote in the book because it's the last sentence in the prologue and it gives the story an epic start. Malala is saying in this quote that she's proud of how she changed the world.

Book review

I give this book 4 stars out of 5 because it has a great life lessons in it. It can teach someone to stand up for what they believe in, and not to take something you have for granted. Malala's story is heartwarming, and the reader really feels like they know Malala.

Works Cited

Blumberg, Naomi. "Malala Yousafzai." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 11 May 2016.

Elmos, Antonio. Malala Yousafzai. Digital image. UCR Global Issues Forum. Ingrid Arteaga, 5 Mar. 2016. Web. 11 May 2016.

FilmFestivalVideos. "He Named Me Malala Official Trailer 1 (2015) - Documentary HD." YouTube. YouTube, 2015. Web. 11 May 2016.

Four out of five stars. Digital image. Safecar. NHTSA, n.d. Web. 11 May 2016.

Malala Yousafzai: “If I can serve my country best through politics and through becoming a prime minister, then I would definitely choose that”. Digital image. The Skibbereen Eagle. The Skibbereen Eagle, 11 Dec. 2014. Web. 11 May 2016

"Malala Yousafzai." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television. Web. 11 May 2016.

Yousafzai, Malala, and Patricia McCormick. Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and Changed the World. Young Readers ed. N.p.: Little Brown, n.d. Print.