Summary

It is crazy how lives could be so different across the world.  15 year old Malala Yousafzai is a girl living in the Swat Valley who just wanted to go to school.  Unfortunately, the Taliban, who controlled most of Pakistan, did not believe that girls should have the right to a decent education.  Malala did not agree with this, and became a voice in Pakistan for girls’ education.  That is when things went from bad to much worse.  On her way home from school, the bus was raided by two Taliban members.  They shot Malala in the head and the bullet almost went through her brain.  There was a very slim chance of her survival.  She was transported many times and had multiple surgeries.  It is a miracle and a blessing that she is still alive today.  After she recovered, her family moved to England where they still dwell today.  Malala has become a social icon for women’s and girls’ human rights.

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Symbols

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“Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.” ~Malala Yousafzai

Not only is Malala an advocate for women’s and girls’ rights, but she is also a symbol of education.  Education is so important this day in age.  All children should have the right to a proper education, no matter who they are.  That is what Malala was trying to bring across. She definitely made her mark in this world.

Symbols

“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.” ~Malala Yousafzai

Once Malala got shot, the news spread like a wildfire.  The press had already met her before the attack through many interviews and conferences, so when they heard about this, they had to see it for themselves.  Reporters from all over the world came to Swat to see her.  People everywhere were talking about the hero named Malala.

Theme

Malala leaving Saint Elizabeth's Hospital in England.
Malala leaving Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in England.

Even though it was a struggle through the process, Malala did recover.  After that, she became a global symbol for women’s rights.  She teaches a constant lesson that if you want to succeed in getting a point across, there will be hardships.  However, hardships only make us stronger in the end.

Theme

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Malala being treated at a military hospital in Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai stood up for what she believed in.  She did not think it was fair that girls could not go to school, so she spoke up about it.  Unfortunately, for doing that, she faced a life changing consequence.  A bullet went through her head and she was knocked unconscious.  She was transferred many times to multiple hospitals.  She underwent many surgeries.  All this, though, and she stilled stayed strong.  Her body did not give up, even though the chances of survival were slim.

Setting

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Aerial view of the Swat Valley.

This is the more specific location of Malala’s home, the Swat Valley.  This is also the spot of the Khushal School, Malala’s school.  Most of the book’s plot takes place here.  This photo is a perfect representation of where she grew up.  This town also holds a deeper significance, as it is the place where Malala got shot for her actions.  After she recovered, however, her and her family moved to Birmingham, England.

Setting

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A map of Pakistan and the surrounding area.

This is the map of the country in which Malala and her family live, Pakistan.  In the illustration, you can see Islamabad, the country’s capital, and Karachi, the previous capital.  Malala visits Islamabad a couple times in the book.  This picture shows the general area of where the story takes place.  Also, this gives a view of how much land the Taliban truly controls.

Characters

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The Yousafzai family portrait in Birmingham, England.

This is Malala’s family. Her parents, especially her father, play important roles in this book. He teaches her everything about speaking out about things that are not just.  He was a huge role model to her throughout her whole childhood.  Her family brought happiness to her life, and they did many things together.  They stuck together and got each other through even the darkest times.

Character

Malala Yousafzai Headshot
The cover photo of the “I Am Malala” book, Malala’s headshot. 

This is Malala Yousafzai, the main character and the hero of the book.  Malala is a incredibly brave 16 year old who just wanted education for girls in Swat as well as all over Pakistan.  Because she went to school and spoke out against the Taliban’s rules, they raided the bus she was on and shot her.  She survived, luckily, and became a worldwide symbol for girls’ and women’s rights.

Tone

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The Taliban walking through Mingora, a town close to Swat.

The tone for the second half of the story was more serious.  Malala describes how life in Swat began to change under the control of the Taliban, so the tone became darker.  She tried to keep her spirits up even when they had total control of Swat, but it was clear that she was scared. Anyone would be in that horrifying situation.