The story of Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist, is dramatic and important. It starts out simply enough: it’s 2012 and 15 year old Malala is happily going off to school, her biggest worry being how she’ll do on an exam that day. And then, she says, “I never saw my home again.” It’s the start of a two-hour story of the bravery and courage of the girl we all know now as Malala.
Read with sweetness, conviction and compassion, Neela Vaswani expertly narrates the story of the young girl who became famous for standing up to the Taliban. Vaswani’s voice sounds like a young girl—at times vulnerable, at times scared, at times brave. Malala, we now know, refused to be silenced, even after being shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school. Vaswani expertly voices Malala’s family members and others in her world, as she takes us on Malala’s journey from a remote valley in Pakistan to the United Nations in New York City to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.
“I have worked tirelessly as a role as an education activist,” says Malala. “I thank God I have been given this platform. This is my life’s work, my mission and my dream. Now I live in Oxford, England, where I attend university, but really I am the same old Malala. My life has changed, but I have not. … I will never give up on advocating for peace and education for all.” The accessible language and telling of Malala’s story offers a message of hope, and an inspiration to young girls worldwide. It’s a message that must be heard.
Ann Oldenburg ©2019 Parents’ Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and interim director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.