1 child, 1 teacher, 1 book and 1 pen can change the world!

I just finished reading the book “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” written by Malala Yousafzai together with journalist Christina Lamb. I chose this quote of Malala not only because it sums up her entire ideology, but also because of the last part which mentions that 1 pen can change the world. I think this phrase is very relevant in today’s context, after the Charlie Hebdo shootings and can be interpreted in more than one way.

I thought the book would begin with the most troubling incident which was her shooting, but the book had a surprising chronology. Malala begins her story as a young girl who lives in Pakistan in modern times. She then goes on into her father’s life story and how he struggled to build his own school. Through these stories, we understand very well Malala’s background and her bond with her father.

Throughout the book, Malala describes the gradual Taliban rise to power in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. I drew many parallels between her book and the story of Persepolis written by Marjane Satrapi. In both you can see a little girl’s life changing. You can progressively see their curiosity, pureness and love of life being tainted little by little by new freedom restrictions.

The incident of her shooting is only mentioned at the end of the book. She then finishes off very quickly by mentioning her family’s transfer to Birmingham, UK.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed by the book. It was quite scarce in information regarding the history of the region. Since she is only 17 years old, the book is more about her father’s outtake on things and his struggle to making education available for both boys and girls. What I found the biggest pity is that the book does not reflect all Malala’s charismatic personality, which immediate shines through when you see her talking on stage. The book is a very simple summary of everything that happened before she became the Malala everyone knows and I think it would be a very nice read for teens between 14-20 years old. For adults, I find it a bit basic.

Having said that, the fact that Malala has given up most of her childhood to fight for freedom of education is more than admirable. I am looking forward to seeing her progress and see what lies ahead.


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