“I Am Malala” Book Review

Table of Content

I Am Malala is about a young girl who lives in the Swat valley in Pakistan. Malala’s novel is written in first person and Malala is the narrator. Malala goes to school even though most girls in her village are not supposed to or think that it’s not right for a girl to get a good education. When Malala was born her family did not get many congratulations because Malala was not born male. In their culture they believe that males are superior over females. But her father, Ziauddin, loved her no matter what their culture believed. Ziauddin was a renowned public speaker for his many awards in poetry and debate competitions. He overcame a stuttering impediment and became a public speaker that advocated for education. He believed that all people should have the right to education. Malala looked up to her father in many ways, her father always told her that she can be and do anything in life. Malala, with the support of her father, also became an advocate for women’s right to education. She was a very hard working student and strived to be the best in her class. Malala had many friendly rivalries with other girls to be the best in her class. Her father built the school that she learned from.

There was a big change in Malala’s life after the September 11, 2001 attack in the United States. The Taliban became empowered in her area and made many strict laws that they would enforce by violence. One of the most restricting laws to Malala was that no women was allowed to attend school, or get an education. Malala would not give up going to school and still attended even at the risk that she may be killed. Malala was asked to be part of a series of journals and a documentary to show her life in Swat. Later that year her family had to shut down the school. This was hard for Ziauddin because he worked day and night to make the school the way he wanted. They also had to leave Swat because it was getting too risky to stay there. They traveled to Islamabad where their family is from. In a few months they returned and Malala returned back to school. One day after school in 2011 she rode the bus back home with a few of her school friends. On their way home someone stopped the bus and asked for Malala. A Talib man then shot her and two of her classmates. She was shot on the left-side of her face to her left shoulder and is badly injured. She is rushed to the closest hospital, a military hospital in Pakistan. Doctor Junaid completes brain surgery on her but when a doctor from the UK, Dr. Fiona, is called and checked on Malala she is told with the conditions of the hospital and the lack of sanitary measures she may die.

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Malala was then taken in a plane to a hospital in Birmingham, England. Her parents and siblings have to stay behind due to not having proper documentation. Malala gets increasingly better with the state of the art facilities and equipment. Malala was afraid her parents could not afford the stay but it was covered by many sponsors especially by the Pakistan government official. She recovers almost fully and lives with her family in Birmingham and attends school there. She and her family had to deal with the culture shock and the change of scenery but are happy their daughter is alive. Malala continues to speak out about women’s education and created the Malala Fund which allows all children to have the ability to go to school, and have proper education.


I believe the author of the novel I Am Malala created this book to explain her story. She wanted to explain why she is an advocate for education and what happened beyond the headlines in the news. I believe she wanted to show her story to the world and how she survived being shot by the Taliban. I think this book was written to inspire people to do what they believe in no matter what challenges they face in life.

One of the main universal lessons in the novel I Am Malala is fighting against the Taliban or any organization with words and awareness and not with guns or violence. An example of Malala fighting back against the Taliban through words and not violence is in this quote, “My father would say to me, Any organization which works for peace I will join. If you want to resolve a dispute or come out from conflict, the very first thing is to speak the truth. If you have a headache and tell the doctor you have a stomachache, how can the doctor help? You must speak the truth. The truth will abolish fear.” (139). This quote shows how Malala was taught and how he taught her the right way to deal with the Taliban’s violent forces. Her father also did many talks with people which gave citizens the full and right story. This is part of a universal lesson because if one person speaks out and tells the truth other people will join in the movement and change things for the better. “They went back and forth to Peshawar and Islamabad and gave lots of interviews on the radio, particularly to the voice of America and the BBC, taking turns so there would always be one of them available. They told people that what was happening in Swat was not about Islam. My father said the Taliban presence in Swat was not possible without the support of some in the army and the Bureaucracy.” (139). This gave other countries the inside story from multiple people on what’s really going on. This makes other countries want to help people in war torn countries. Another universal lesson is women having the right to education. Women were degraded in Malala’s country by the Taliban. They were given minimal rights and telling them they are not allowed to have an education. Malala spoke up for the rights of women and girls and never backed down to help even after she was shot by the Taliban. “Peace in every home, every street, every village, every country–this is my dream. Education for every boy and every girl in the world. To sit down on a chair and read my books with all my friends at school is my right. To see each and every human being with a smile of happiness is my wish. I am Malala. My world has changed but I have not.” (313). Malala was shot just a year before she said this. This shows just how persistent she is, and how she will never back down on her dream. She will make everyone have the right to an education and she will not stop until everyone has that right.


I liked the novel I Am Malala, I liked this book because it gave power to young girls who have a dream. She believed that she could do something great with her life and she did. I liked how her father was very supportive of her and never degraded what she believed in. He inspired her and was an inspiration to her. He did not care if she was male or female unlike most of the fathers in their society. He also went against tradition and married someone he loved instead of someone he was told to. This took a lot of courage and is an inspiration to many people who live in that culture. I also liked how Malala narrated the novel, she gave insight that we may not have known if she was telling it in another point of view. I like that even though she was shot and she could have just gave up being an advocate for people she didn’t. She still fought for women’s rights.

I believe what was missing was insight into other people’s lives. I wish she included a narration from her dad, mother, sibling, or friend. I wish the book included their friends lives and how they know Malala because then it would’ve shown the reader what is really happening in other families in Swat. Other than those changes I believe this book was very well written and I enjoyed the book overall.

Themes of Geography

The movement that occured in I Am Malala is when it was unsafe for Malala and her family to stay in Swat because of the Taliban. She moved from Swat to Islamabad. Then when she was shot she was moved from Pakistan to the UK for medical help. The location where Malala lived is Swat, Pakistan. Pakistan has the exact coordinates of 33.7167 degrees North and 73.0667 degrees East. There are about 182,589,000 people in Pakistan as of 2014. The most common way of travel in pakistan is by Bus, or by taxi, only in some cases are planes used as a form of transportation. In the region Pakistan they have an economic government and is a federal republic.

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“I Am Malala” Book Review. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from


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