I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

This story is about a young woman named Malala who decided to fight for women's right to education when this fundamental right was taken away by the Taliban. Malala was born in 1997. Both her mother and father came from a very remote part of Pakistan called Shangla. They moved to a small town called Mingora in a district called Swat Valley just a hundred miles from Afghanistan. Malala's birth was not a cause for celebration mostly because she was not a boy and also because the family was extremely poor and had no money for a big feast. Her father named her Malala after a courageous woman who lead the troops in a battle against the British in 1880. In fact the name means grief-stricken.
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Her mother was illiterate but the father was a great speaker and he was very involved in many environmental, social and political causes around the region. He was a teacher and he decided to open schools along with his friends and business partners. He opened up schools for both boys and girls in a time when most of the women were illiterate and had no inclination to pursue an education. He encouraged his daughter to learn and be an independent woman rather than a humble wife who cooks, cleans, has children and never leaves the house.
The arrival of the Taliban brought a dramatic change to the region. They set up a radio broadcast and started telling people to burn their books, their CD's and DVD's, to keep the girls away from schools and to return to the old ways of Islam. Pakistan was very affected by a big earthquake, by huge floods and other natural disasters so people thought that they were punished by God and listened to the Taliban.
Malala kept going to school and she started giving interviews in order to promote education and women's rights. She was just a child but she spoke from the heart and people listened to her speeches and she received many awards. She wrote a blog for the BBC website in which she described life under the Taliban rule. Her father encouraged her and they kept their spirits up in spite of the numerous threats they received and the people that were killed every day by the Taliban. The reign of terror lasted many years and people did nothing to defend themselves and to get rid of the Taliban until the government started up a war and drove them from the region.
In 2012 Malala was coming home from school when their school bus was stopped and a young man started shooting the girls. He shot Malala in the head and he injured other two girls who happened to be in his way. Malala was taken to the local hospital but she was getting worse and worse so she was taken to a military hospital and than out of the country. She was transported to a hospital in England where she spent many months having surgery and recovering from her wounds. She received international support and she was visited by many important people even if she was only fifteen years old. Her dedication attracted attention all over the world and thousands of people wrote her letters and sent her gifts.
The family remained in England even if they wanted nothing more than to return home to their beautiful Swat Valley. Malala gave many speeches to the UN and other international organizations promoting women's right to education. She is an internationally acclaimed young woman and she is still very involved in women's cause for freedom of speech and education.
Best part of story, including ending: I loved Malala's courage and her father's openness to education for women. I liked their involvement in social causes despite their risking their lives in the process.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was when Malala was crying for her books when the family had to move away from the city because of the war against the Taliban. She couldn't take her books with her because there was no space in the car and she was very upset.

Opinion about the main character: I liked Malala as a young person and her involvement in the cause for women's education.

The review of this Book prepared by Andreea Lupei a Level 5 American Goldfinch scholar

Chapter Analysis of I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

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Plot & Themes

Ethnic/Relig. of subject (inside)    -   Arab or Muslim Gender/Class story?    -   woman's story If this is a culture clash:    -   family young v. old guard Ethnic/regional/gender    -   Yes Period of greatest activity?    -   1950+

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Ethnicity    -   Indian Indian Unusual characteristics:    -   Genius


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   The 'stans Century:    -   1980's-Present

Writing Style

Book makes you feel?    -   encouraged If this is a kid's book:    -   Age 16-Adult Pictures/Illustrations?    -   A few 1-5 B&W How much dialogue in bio?    -   significantly more descript than dialog How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?    -   26-50% of book

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Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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