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Audie Award Finalist, Biography/Memoir, 2014
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.
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 nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.
I am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.
I am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
Malala opens her heart, family, neighborhood, religion, history and culture to our understanding in her simple, insightful voice. Nurtured as an equal by her educator father she started as a young child to advocate education for street children. As the Taliban invaded her beloved Swat Valley and closed girls schools, she became the face and voice of the girls in open defiance of their rulings. Did you know she has been nominated for the Noble Peace prize? I didn't. I couldn't put this book down and it helped me to understand the Pakistani view of recent historical events such as the war in Afghanistan and the killing of Ben Ladin. After reading I did an internet search and watched videos of her talks and "liked her" on her Facebook page which has pictures of the school, her family and valley. What a wonderful young woman - who made a difference and will continue to do so. This book is a keeper, I will read again.
70 of 71 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up I am Malala in three words, what would they be?
This book SOARS!! Malala is a major inspiration to me, and I am 60 years old. I did read one review that said it would be hard to tell where the ghostwriter stops and the real Malala begins. There is no doubt that the ghostwriter here captured the TRUE MALALA. I wish I could meet this brilliant young and MOST insightful girl. In this day and age when Muslims are getting such a bad rep, she lets us know what is really in the hearts of Muslims. <br/><br/>Malala, it would be a miracle if someday I met you. It would be a dream for me. I could honestly put this one on my bucket list.<br/><br/>This book is phenomenal. I am not one for present-day literature, for autobiographies, or books of this nature. But this book just SOARS way above anything of its kind. How can I describe what this girl means for her country and for peace? I can understand why she was passed over for the Nobel Peace Prize. But it's like an Academy Award Nomination. The nomination is a feather away from the actual award. Kudos, Sweet Girl. Stay at your stand and become even more well known. You are an admirable human being, and I humbly acknowledge your inspiration!
47 of 49 people found this review helpful
Malala Yousafzai is on a crucial, well publicized and lauded mission to educate children. I expected "I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot By the Taliban" (2013) would be An Alarming Book with lots of Depressing Statistics that would make me feel Somewhat Superior in a Privileged Western Way, but Inspired to Help. What I didn't expect was that I would gain respect for a very different culture and enjoy a fascinating, but tragic story.
The inhabitants of the Swat Valley of northwest Pakistan often use rope-pulley bridges to cross dangerous raging rivers and deep chasms quickly. "I Am Malala" is a fast ride across what has been, for me, an uncrossable gulf.
Pashtuns have lived in the stunningly beautiful Swat Valley for more than 2300 years. Malala is a proud member of the Pashtun tribe, who are fierce fighters, culturally bound to welcome guests, and have traditions of marriage handed down for centuries. When Malala was born in Mingora, her father Ziauddin, was delighted - although tribal custom means only the birth of a boy is celebrated. Ziauddin was determined to give Malala and the other girls in Swat an education.
Swat is almost entirely conservative, traditional Muslims. Men and women are kept separated after puberty, people pray five times a day, and work outside the home is not encouraged for women. That doesn't mean that the Koran says that women shouldn't be educated - in fact, it says the exact opposite. (And let's not forget that jobs weren't encouraged for women in the Western World until 60 or so years ago.)
After 9/11, the Taliban arrived in Swat and took effective control of the area from an impotent and absentee Pakistani government. In their fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran, there is no dancing, no television, no song, and women are to be illiterate. When I read this book, I realized that the Taliban is to Islam what Westboro Baptist Church is to Christians - really out there, aching for jihad or crusade, and not actually representative of either religion.
Malala learned to love learning, and to love school - especially when the Taliban took it from her. She became the voice of girls who wanted to learn by blogging, and then by appearing as an education advocate on television. She was prominently featured by the New York Times in a documentary "Class Dismissed" (2009). I remember that well - it was the first NY Times documentary I watched.
Malala and her family never thought, as a child, that she was in danger. "Who would shoot a child?" everyone said. They underestimated the desperation of fundamentalists who find their beliefs - and therefore, their power - challenged. The Taliban shot her in the head on October 9, 2012. On October 9, 2013, she answered the question she'd been asked right before the assassination attempt: "Who is Malala Yousafzai?" with this book.
I will leave the political analysis and sociological critique to other reviewers who have handled that so adeptly already. To me, this is a really good book. I'm sure Christina Lamb, the co-author, contributed greatly to that. Malala has been attending school and has had multiple surgeries in the last year, and she could not have had the time to do everything.
I am sure this book will end up on school reading lists, alongside "The Diary of a Young Girl" (Anne Frank, 1947, posthumous). Teachers, please don't mar a wonderful story by making your students find only 'One True Meaning.' For Marie Arana, writing a reverent review of "I Am Malala" for the Washington Post on October 11, 2013, this book meant something more global and less personal. We both found profound meaning in this book - but the meanings, while complementary, were different.
Finally, this book worked better for me as an Audible than in text. Mentally, reading excerpts, I tripped over Pashto and Urdu pronunciations - which would have distracted me from the book. Archie Panjabi sounds young, and her narrative as a 16 year old works.
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229 of 245 people found this review helpful
Malala is an amazing young woman who deserves our support. Her voice rises up for those who have no voice. In listening to this audio, in learning more about Malala, you will be moved by her life, by her passion, by her vision. Listen to her, support her, let us stand with her.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful
I never had any intention of reading or listening to this book when it came out. Anything Oprah raves about drops down on my list of experiences I want to partake in.....and then one morning, I looked at Malala's face on the cover and changed my mind. And I was pleased to discover this wasn't the preachy or heavy-handed book about politics and the evils of the Taliban that I was afraid it would be.
Happily, this book is more about a brave young woman than about politics. And it's about her supportive parents, in a place and time when that wasn't always available to girls and young women. I was as much impressed by the life and actions of her father as I was about Malala herself, and I think he and his contributions have been overlooked much of the time. Malala obviously learned a lot from the way he treated his wife and daughter (very different from many others of his culture), the way he fought to build schools and teach children (male and female), and the way he spoke out, organized, and negotiated to make education for all a priority.
It's not surprising that a smart girl from a family like that would also grow up to cherish education and to speak her mind about the importance of everyone having those opportunities. What was surprising (to me) was that it didn't take away from her "normal-ness" as a pre-teen and teenaged girl.....and that comes through in the book. She talks about chatting with school friends about pop music and the Twilight books, and about fighting with her younger brothers over access to toys or a computer. About enjoying going on picnics, and playing cricket. Ordinary stuff that happens to young teenaged girls all over the world.
It's also clear from the book how much Malala loves her home and her country, even while she is saddened by what is going on there (mostly in respect to the rights of women and children, but also that some of her own countrymen have claimed her shooting was either a fake, or an excuse to move to the West). She is also quite clear that her views on Islam have not been changed by the efforts of other groups to instill a fringe fanaticism that is not reflective of true Islam. That while her world has been changed by the Taliban and what has happened to her, she has not.
The narration was wonderful, full of heart and emotion, and sounding young enough to actually be a 16 year old girl (which lends even more realism to the reading).
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
It is one thing to read in the papers about the often times nameless and faceless individuals that are killed due to senseless killings in the Middle East due to the Taliban. It is also so easy to take for granted the simple pleasures and privileges that a peaceful and relatively liberal society brings. "I Am Malala" is one of those books that makes you not only thankful for the little privileges that you have but also admire the power that is the human spirit as well.
The story is the story of Malala. While I might not see this as a piece that was written extraordinarily well with fancy words or whatever, it's content is without a doubt what sets it apart. The book could use some editing and a thesaurus at points however when one thinks that it was written by a young woman, you get to appreciate the writing style for what it is. As much as I think living in the time and place she lived in forced her to mature beyond her years, I also despite that she was/is an extraordinary young woman to have created this. The depth in the book is truly inspiring and eye opening as well. The fight she fought for the right for education is something I think very few could do.I found myself torn between both respecting and being disappointed in her father at parts of the book because it is nothing short of miraculous that Malala was able to survive what she went through (past of it due to her father's ambition to an extent). It clearly is something that shaped and built her though and there is no doubt in my mind that her father cared and still does care for her greatly.
The narration is what I expected it to be. It would have been vastly disappointing if the narration was not even at least bearable; fortunately it was not only bearable but done very well. The narration did well to compliment the excellent content in the book and left a memorable impact on me.
Overall, this book was one of the highlights of my 2013 reading list. It stood out to me in a positive and put faces to a tragedy that is going on right at this very moment. For anyone who finds themselves complacent and downright unappreciative for the privilege that it is to be able to learn freely.... this book should be read. The ability and privilege to learn should never be taken for granted.
31 of 34 people found this review helpful
I was not sure what I was going to find reading a memoir of a 16 year old girl, but I am impressed. The fact she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is what triggered me to read the book. After reading the book I feel she should have received the prize but she does have a life time to achieve it in. The story is not only about her life with her family and friends but she provides the history of the Swat valley all the way back to the Moguls, the Buddhists, as well as the history of Pakistan. She explains that 2500 years ago the Yousafzai clan of Pashtu migrated from Kabul Afghanistan to the Swat Valley. The descriptions she provides of the valley makes one want to visit the area if not for the war. As the Taliban moved into the valley and more so after the earthquake everything changed for the people. Maulana Fazlullak started Radio Mullah. He was a high school dropout and became a radical jihadist. I did notice that Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala’s father a son of an Imam, went to religious school and was tempted to become a terrorist but as his education continued he started asking question the jihadists could not answer so he quit them. Goes to show with education of the people the fanatic cannot survive. No wonder they are against education. The book covers some dark material but it is presented in a positive way and the enthusiasm of Malala to make changes for children, rights of women, and education come through loud and clear. She wrote a blog for the BBC and gave speeches and interviews fighting for the right for education of girls. I was surprised to learn she speaks three languages. Maybe one day she will be an activist or maybe even the President of Pakistan. Archie Panjabi did a great job narrating the book with all the various languages and accents. If you are interested in current events this is a must read book.
28 of 31 people found this review helpful
Not something I'd normally purchase, I decided to when I read about this amazing young woman on NPR's website.
It's a simple story about Islam, the Taliban take overs of a beautiful mountain valley, how they destroyed 1000 year old statues of the Buddha because they were against the Taliban rules, How they took over town after town with untruths and changed the peaceful community where this young girl, who wanted to be an inventor or a politician could no longer go to school.
After protesting this by writing a blog that was published internationally, she was targeted for death by the Taliban and a year ago, was shot in the head.
Since then shes become an international heroine, continued to speak for education for all children.
I encourage you to read this good, and to play it for your children above age 10. This young lady began speaking out when she was 11 and she is a much better person to praise than movie stars or singers. She shows all the positive qualities of young girls without the modern bad attitude we see so frequently.
I'm sure I'll listen to this again-and I highly recommend it for everyone.
35 of 39 people found this review helpful
Simple ,Direct,True with a very noble soul beneath the words.
I Enjoyed, I learned, I expanded my horizon
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
A first-hand account of an incredibly brave hero, a young girl, who chose to speak truth to the world about the brutalities of the Taliban, was shot in the head, and recovered to carry on this mission. Malala should receive a Nobel Prize for her eloquence, her bravery, and her choice to continue speaking out even after her life was almost taken from her. She has earned this reader's eternal esteem.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful