Book Review: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (Young Reader’s Edition)


i am malala

Inside Cover Synopsis:

Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region. They said music was a crime.  They said women weren’t allowed to go to the market. They said girls couldn’t go to school.

Raised in a once-peaceful area of Pakistan transformed by terrorism, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes.  So she fought for her right to be educated. And on October 9, 2012, she nearly lost her life for the cause: she was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school.

No one expected her to survive.

Now she is an international symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize Nominee.  In this Young Readers edition of her bestselling memoir, which includes exclusive photos and material, we hear firsthand the remarkable story of a girl who knew from a young age that she wanted to change the world — and she did.

Malala’s powerful story will open your eyes to another world and will make you believe in hope, truth, miracles, and the possibility that one person — one young person — can inspire change in her community and beyond.

They say the girl who wrote this is 17 now; was 16 when this book was published.  I think this might be a lie, because whoever wrote this is gobs wiser than I was at 17 — is wiser than I or most people probably ever will be.

Malala Yousafzai is an amazing person.  In her lifetime she has experienced more than most people ever will, and she is wise beyond her years.  Her story as an education activist and as a person is phenomenal, and she is fantastic at telling it.

She begins the book by recounting her childhood in pre-Taliban Pakistan, and details the entrance of the Taliban into her valley and the growth of their threats.  She tells the story of her school and how she has spoken out for girls’ rights to education, and she describes the shooting that resulted from this.  Maybe I am too easy to please, but I have only good things to say about this book.  It gripped me from the beginning.

Malala’s story is one that has many readers shaking their heads in disbelief, but she tells it with a grounded, positive outlook.  To Malala, the world is what it is, and the only thing we can do is live in it and try to make it better.  It is by no means a feel-good read, but it leaves the reader full of hope.  It inspires the reader to do everything he can to better the world, just as Malala is doing.

I think that the book accomplishes two things.  One is that is raises awareness about what is going on in the Middle East by giving a close-up look at the repercussions of terrorism in everyday lives.  Just by telling her story, Malala gives us the perspective we need to really empathize.  What if it had been me ordered to quit school?  What if it had been me listening to bombs and guns going off all around me at night?  What if it had been me shot in that bus?

The other thing it accomplishes is that it shows us Malala as she is.  Repeatedly throughout the book, Malala mentions that though she is famous because of her work, she still wants to be seen as normal.  She shows us that she is by giving us a glimpse into her competitive but playful relationship with her two younger brothers, and showing us the on-again-off-again feud with her best friend that so many of us can relate to.  The love and respect she shares with each of her parents also serve to help us see her more like the girl next door.

I will admit I may have been biased from the beginning, because before I read the book I already strongly admired Malala. However, this book sealed the deal for me.  Malala is an amazing girl, as an activist, person, and now author.  It gives an inspiring glimpse into a different way of life.  I heartily recommend it.

DISCLAIMER:  I have not been able to find the difference between the Young Reader’s Edition and the original edition.


  1. I have read both the Young readres edition and the other one – I found the “adult” one had a bit more history in it, and there was one section from the young readers one that wasn’t in the adult one. I loved them both, though – Malala is my role model!

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