Book review: I am Malala

Book review: I am Malala

cartoon image of Malala with quote about education

I’ve always loved reading and I really enjoy hearing other people’s reviews of books and their recommendation so I’ve decided to start writing a few book blogs. I’m not sure how often I’ll do this, because I’m quite a slow reader anyway, but we’ll see how it goes.

Just to clarify, this is nothing to do with health or fitness. Although, technically I’m exercising my brain power!

The last book I read was the biography of Malala Yousafzai titled I am Malala.

In case you haven’t heard of her; she is a young woman (born 1997) who was awarded the 2014 Noble Peace Prize for her campaigning for education and women’s rights to go to school. She was also targeted and shot by the Taliban on her way home from school when she was 15.

I am Malala

That was the only thing I knew about Malala before I picked up the book, that she had been shot by the Taliban, I had no idea that she had actively fought for the right to an education almost her entire life. She’s from Mingora, a town in the Swat District of north-west Pakistan and her father was a well-known intellectual man, recognised for his public speaking and commitment to education. He ran a small school close to their house where Malala spent most of her time growing up and attended.

The book describes the family’s struggles to run the school, they weren’t well off and maintaining a school costs a lot of money as it is all privately funded. A combination of floods, storms and the Taliban didn’t make this any easier for them. Throughout the entire time, Malala and her family’s faith in education never falters. Her attitude to education is truly inspiring and it made me wish that I had appreciated my own education more.

Obviously there were lots of things in the book that were very shocking to me, especially when she describes the events that happened when the Taliban took control of her town. Malala wrote a blog for the UN that was published online explaining what it was like to live day to day in a place controlled by the Taliban. She talked about the struggles of going to school and gradual terror that the Taliban enforced, but also the strong desire for justice to live as they once did.

It’s difficult to read it without thinking about what is happening in the world at the moment and all of the innocent people who have been affected by Islamic State and the war in Syria. Thousands of refugees are seeking asylum in the UK and Europe and so many people are turning their backs and pretending not to realise what’s happening. Thousands of young children just like Malala and her brothers and friends need our help and we are sitting back and letting them suffer. Last week it was announced that the government are constructing a huge wall around one of the largest refugee camps in Calais (nicknamed the Jungle) to stop refugees climbing into the vans departing for the UK. There have been a lot of issues with people jumping into the vans and illegally entering other countries. Surely there is another way to help these desperate people? Isolating them and creating fear around them is what contributed to this kind of extremism in the first place.

Ok, so I’ve gone off topic now, but it’s something I am passionate about. Anyway back to the book…

In the last few chapters Malala describes what happened when she was shot and the events that helped save her life. It was very emotional to read, especially her accounts of her family not knowing what was going to happen to her.

She is an extremely brave girl and I’ve no doubt that she will continue to strive for greatness in the future. The Malala fund was set up in 2013 to raise awareness of the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower women to raise their voices and demand change. Malala didn’t celebrate her 18th birthday in Las Vegas, or riding around in a Bentley like other famous young women her age did (Kylie Jenner I’m looking at you!) she spent the day in Lebanon opening up a school for girls near the Syrian border, which will provide over 200 girls with quality education and hopefully transform their lives through education. You can read all about Malala and the amazing work she does by visiting her website. 

I strongly recommend reading this book if you enjoy learning about culture, feminism, education, family, politics and love.

Hope you enjoyed this review, if you did I will do more! Hannah x