I am of course talking about I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb. I read this book between February 20th and February 29th, 2020 (yay for leap years!) and gave it four stars. Although I do think it is a very important read, I will refrain from calling it a “must” read because I think that everyone should be free to choose whatever they want to read.
I was kind of dreading this book because I feel like everyone and their mom has read it. However, Malala’s writing style makes the reading experience comfortable and even pleasant amidst the heavy topics it deals with. This book is a memoir, and I know I always say this regarding nonfiction but this is a genre that I’m not used to reading. The difference here is that I have studied Malala’s life because we talked about her with my second-graders. Not only that, but I watched the Netflix documentary He Named Me Malala and I think it made the reading less dense.
Because this is nonfiction, you should expect bits that are less anecdotal and way more info-dumpy than readers like me would enjoy. Malala’s culture and the history of the Swat Valley were (still are) absolutely foreign to me, so I understand why so much context was needed. What happened to me was that I could “hear” Malala’s voice in my head as I read the book, so it really did feel like she was telling me everything. And let me tell you, I was and still am shocked at how pure at heart she is.
Through this book, the readers learn about Malala’s life, of course, but as I mentioned, the history of the Swat Valley, the ways the Pashtun culture and Islam operate are also explained. Malala’s dad is a wonderful man and we get to read how he influenced her and challenged all these archaic and sexist norms, which pushed Malala to fight for education the way she did.
Please read the book, watch the documentary, and let me know what you thought about them.
Love, Miss Camila