cover artBibliographic Information
Title: I Am Malala
Author: Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb
ISBN: 978-0316322409
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Copyright: 2013

Book Details
Jacket Design:
Jacket Art & Illustrator:
Page Count:352 p.

Winner of UK National Book Award in Nonfiction

Plot Summary
“I am Malala” is the autobiography of a Pakistani teenager who was thrust onto the world stage by the cruelty of others. At the age of 12, she wrote a blog under a pseudonym detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for 22 girls. The following summer, a documentary was filmed about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region. Malala rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television. She was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu.

On Tuesday, 9 October 2012, Malala boarded a school bus. A gunman asked for Malala by name, then pointed a pistol at her and fired three shots. One bullet hit the left side of Malala’s forehead, traveled under her skin the length of her face and then into her shoulder. She survived, barely, and was sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, for intensive rehabilitation. On 12 October, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Malala and her father.

Malala relates her life as a ‘typical’ Pakistani girl before the shooting, then the events surrounding the shooting and its immediate aftermath, when she is hospitalized. There is a final, short section on her new life in England.

Critical Evaluation

Malala’s story is moving, and has been favorably compared to Anne Frank’s. For both these girls, the issue is not the “literary” quality of their writing (though both are good writers) but rather the moving power of their personal stories, however told.

Malala takes a clear stand; one may not agree with all of it, but one cannot argue that it is not well-expressed or meaningful. Within Pakistan, some feel she is airing dirty laundry; one can only suggest that perhaps they should spend more time washing. Some Pakistanis (and others) feel that she blames the ineffective Pakistani government more than the Taliban. Perhaps this is bali; if there is a “crime wave” is it the fault of the police or the criminals? Other sources suggest that Pakistani government does not have clean hands.

Reader’s Annotation

A moving story, favorably compared to Anne Frank’s, I Am Malala tells the story of growing up in Pakistan, impacted by the Taliban.

Information about the Author

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani school pupil and education activist. She is from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. She is known for her activism for rights to education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school.

The assassination attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Yousafzai.

  • Deutsche Welle wrote in January 2013 that Yousafzai may have become “the most famous teenager in the world.”
  • United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in her name, using the slogan “I am Malala” and demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015 – a petition which helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill.
  • In the 29 April 2013 issue of Time magazine, Malala was featured on the magazine’s front cover as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World”.
  • She was the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize.
  • She was nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize; and is the youngest person (at age 16) to be nominated for it. Although widely tipped to win, the prize went to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
  • In  July 2013, Malala spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education.
  • Malala is the recipient of the Sakharov Prize for 2013.
  • In  October 2013 the Government of Canada announced its intention that the Parliament of Canada confer Honorary Canadian citizenship on Malala.
  • In February 2014, she was nominated a second time for the Nobel Peace Prize and for the World Children’s prize in Sweden.
  • In April 2014 it was announced that Yousafzai will be granted an honorary degree by the University of King’s College in Halifax on May 15, 2014.

Her co-author Christina Lamb is a well respected journalist


Curriculum Ties
History, religious tolerance, personal courage, the price of taking a stand

Booktalking ideas
Personal Courage
Life in Pakistan

Reading Level/Interest Age
Interest Level: high
Reading Level: middle grade and above.

Challenge Issues
Muslim religion




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