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Summary of I Am Malala 

Short summary

I Am Malala is the inspiring story of a young Pakistani girl who stood up for her right to an education in the face of grave danger. Malala refused to be silenced by Taliban rule, yet their brutal tactics seriously threatened her life. She miraculously survived and stands today to tell her story.

A tale of true bravery, Malala refused to sit idle while girls were being devalued and maltreated in her valley. A shocking and yet inspiring story, Malala’s experiences will open your eyes to the lives of those not so fortunate. Many of us live charmed lives and forget that countless people are living in fear and persecution. I Am Malala gives you that timely reminder that perhaps you’re luckier than you think.

“I was a girl in a land where rifles are fired in celebration of a son, while daughters are hidden away behind a curtain, their role in life simply to prepare food and give birth to children.” ~ Malala Yousafzai

Key points


Malala was born into a land where people fire rifles to celebrate the birth of sons, not daughters

In the western world, the birth of any child is celebrated equally; a child is seen as a blessing, whether a boy or a girl. However, in the land situated between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a tribe called The Pashtun does not see the birth of a child in the same way; a baby girl is seen as nothing but a bad omen.

When Malala was born, the villagers only congratulated her mother but not her father. The tribe believes that daughters should be hidden away and only have two roles in life — cooking meals and giving birth to children. From a young age, Malala was destined for more, and it was clear that a life chained to the kitchen sink was not her calling.

Malala’s father recognized the strength in his daughter instantly. He decided to name her after Afghanistan’s greatest heroine — Malalai of Maiwand, a fierce maiden who was the daughter of a shepherd in Maiwand. She died on the battlefield while tending to wounded Afghan soldiers during their battle with the British.
Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, fell in love with his baby girl the moment he set eyes on her. He refused to believe the bad omens about the birth of a girl.
Malala and her family lived in Mingora, the only city in Swat valley. Despite the beautiful surroundings and her loving family, life in the valley was not so rosy when Malala was born. Her family was so poor that they lived in a shack opposite the school, founded by her father and his friend. Two years later, Malala’s brother, Khushal, was born and quickly became their mother’s favorite child. Five years later, another boy was born, Atal. Money was tight with one child, but now with three to look after, things were even more challenging. All of that was about to get much worse as the Taliban took control of Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan.

In the following sections of this summary, you will learn about the life of Malala, the brave young girl who risked her life to take a stand against the oppressive rule of the Taliban and defied their ban on the education of girls.

Malala’s father considered education a right for all — male or female

Malala’s mother, Toor Pekai Yousafzai, was illiterate. Yet, in her early years, she showed the same spark and motivation as Malala. At age six, Malala’s mother was the last girl in her classroom, surrounded by boys. But she didn't care and was actually excited about the fact that she was going to learn something. However, her future fate dawned on her quickly as she saw girls around her being taught how to cook and clean. She succumbed to her inevitable fate and left school.
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Malala was born at a difficult point in world politics, but her family stuck together


As misinformation spreads, a half-learned mufti is a danger to faith


The more interviews Malala gave, the more confidence and support she received


Malala’s bravery has inspired countless young women worldwide, but it came at a considerable cost.



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