“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.”
Malala Yousafzai, a young girl from Pakistan, spoke in support of education for girls during a time when the Taliban took over her country. They decided she was too dangerous; her words too powerful. She was just fifteen years old when she was shot for speaking her mind-fighting for the voiceless young girls, being forced out of their schools. Malala surprised the Taliban by surviving and continuing the fight for education.
By now, most people around the world know her story or at least part of it. Malala’s book recounts her life and family before and after the shooting. It feels like a one-on-one chat as you read through the pages and get to know more about her. She expresses her love of school and books, the love she has for her country, and the love she has for her family. Malala also shines a light on the work her father has done fighting for education and building schools for children in their region of Swat. Together, Malala and her father speak for those who have no voice and shine a light on a misunderstood country as they fight against the Taliban. Her father always encouraged Malala to fight for what she believes in and stood by her side during many of her speeches, supporting her.“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.” -Malala Click To Tweet
I enjoyed reading more about Malala and her fight for girl’s education. I had only heard the basic facts about her from the endless news cycles back in 2012. This book helped me learn more not only about her as a person, but also learning about her culture, country, religion, and activism. Her book is inspiring for all to speak up and fight for the things you love, and to help those that may be unable to speak for themselves. I believe everyone should read this book to gain a better perspective on what’s happening outside of their own country. I for one love learning about new cultures and had never heard of Swat, a region that is now part of Pakistan and where Malala is from. Malala weaves her own personal story with the history of Swat and Pakistan, helping me to learn more about the world we live in.
Malala is not afraid to speak about her family’s struggles and the struggles of those around her in the village. She openly speaks about the poverty of the region and the issues they faced. She also speaks about the mullah’s and Taliban fighters with kindness and empathy. When she was being threatened by them and told to stop going to school, she wanted to speak with them and show them the importance of education. Malala wanted to educate those who opposed her even after being shot by them. She showed great strength and persistence when she talked about wishing she had seen who shot her, so she could have talked to him about what she was fighting for, to try and help them understand how important education is.
I Am Malala not only gives a voice to Malala herself but also to the millions of children, especially girls, who are not given an education. She talks about how difficult it can be in their country, as well as other Eastern countries, for girls and poor families to afford to send their children to school. Malala advocates for the education of everyone no matter their gender, race, religion, or class. Her book does an excellent job of giving a voice to this cause while also trying to empathize with those who are against it. She doesn’t belittle those who oppose her but instead tries to reason with them and change the social norms that have caused the lack of education for so many around the world. She has a brilliant quote in her book from Martin Niemöller about speaking up for others, whether or not it affects you:
Malala is a courageous young woman who helps readers, such as myself, remember the freedoms we have and may take for granted in our everyday lives. I Am Malala encourages readers to stand up for everyone and find a cause to fight for. She also reminded me to stay passionate and never give up, no matter how many times you may get knocked down.“Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.”- Malala Click To Tweet
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