A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education and Changed the World is a memoir by Malala Yousafzai, co-written with Patricia McCormick. Malala was born in Pakistan in 1997 and became a household word in 2012, when she was shot at point-blank range by a member of the Taliban on her way home from school for advocating education for girls. She later was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and now lives in England with her family because it's not safe for them to return to Pakistan. Malala tells of being inspired at a young age to stand up for what was right, encouraged by her schoolteacher father; of the scary realities of life under the Taliban; and of squabbles with her brothers and tiffs with her friends as she becomes a symbol for the right of girls (and all kids) to get an education. She doesn't remember anything about being shot, and there's little gory detail. The underlying violence of life in Pakistan, particularly against people the Taliban don't approve of, looms throughout and may be too much for sensitive kids. It's an inspiring first-person story of what one teen can accomplish -- and what it costs her and her loved ones.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has garnered world renown for her courageous advocacy of girls' education and her strong recovery from being nearly killed in an assassination attempt. Here, she tells her own story, of her parents' love, inspiration, and encouragement and how they led her to confront Islamic fundamentalists who were trying to keep girls from going to school in her native Pakistan. Her strong Muslim faith and personal determination gain her worldwide prominence -- and make her a target. Malala tells of her idyllic life pre-Taliban, how things changed, and how events unfolded until she was shot in the face on the way home from school. Now living in England with her family, she also tells about her more recent life and work.
Is it any good?
Many a kid, and many an adult, will find I AM MALALA an engaging, accessible introduction to Malala Yousafzai, education advocate, Nobel laureate, and 17 years old at the time of writing. It's an inspiring look at what one person can do to stand up to wrongdoers and make things better -- and a fascinating window into daily life in a culture that's very different from that of Western kids.
It's also profoundly poignant, as Malala and her family are uprooted and have their lives changed beyond recognition, probably forever. "Sometimes I get tired," she writes. "Some days I wish I could just sit on the couch and watch Mind Your Language or Skype with friends. But I take the work I'm doing very seriously, always."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Malala thinks education is so important. Do you agree? How would you react if you weren't allowed to go to school? Why do you think the Taliban are so opposed to people getting an education?
What's it like to read a memoir of a teenager? How is it different from a memoir of someone who's lived a long life? How does I Am Malala compare with other autobiographies you've read?
How would you feel if you had to leave your home and everyone you knew because it wasn't safe for you to stay? Do you know anyone who's come from a situation like this?
- Authors: Malala Yousafzai, Patricia McCormick
- Genre: Autobiography
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date: August 19, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 18
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: January 2, 2021
Our editors recommend
For kids who love biographies and stories of strong women
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.