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home : features : features November 20, 2014


1/1/2014 4:00:00 AM
THE BOOKSHELF: Fighting for a free education for children
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban is on the new non-fiction shelf under 303.625 YOUS.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban is on the new non-fiction shelf under 303.625 YOUS.
Rosita Smith


I am Malala. My home is in the beautiful Swat Valley in Pakistan. I live with my two brothers, mother, father, shared grandmothers and grandfathers, and chickens in a typical village home. In Pakistan the boys go to school for an education. The girls stay at home and learn how to keep house, prepare food and give birth. Typically the girls are married off at puberty.

Malala's father, Zaiuddin, is different. He believes that the girls should have an education. He has worked all of his life to provide an education for them. He built schools, recruited teachers, solicited funding, played janitor or bus driver; you name it. Malala grew up in her dad's schools, working side-by-side delivering speeches to promote education for girls.

To most westerners, Pakistan is an unknown, small dot on the map, but it jumped to forefront with the publication of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, a novel that was a parody of the Prophet's life set in Bombay. Muslims considered it blasphemous and were calling for his head.

On Aug. 14, 1947, Pakistan was created as the world's first homeland for Muslims. A timeline of important events going forward starts on page 319. It reads about a pretty violent past.

When the Taliban took over control in Pakistan all schools were ordered to be closed. But an underground education system remained. Malala and her father championed for education for all even as the Taliban became more and more aggressive at closing schools and eliminating those that advocated for education. Malaya's speeches were generating more and more attention. Then the Taliban moved in.

On Oct. 9, 2012 the school bus taking children home was ambushed. Malala was targeted and shot in the head. The whole world went into high gear with the top medical specialists at her side cheering her on as they provided aid and support to Malala's family.

On July 12, 2013, Malala's 16th birthday, she addressed the United Nations in New York and called for free education for all children.

Malala made education for all children her life's work. Pakistan awarded her its National Youth Peace Prize in 2011 and she was nominated for the International Children's Peace prize in the same year; making her the youngest person ever nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Malala was also a runner-up for the Time magazine's Person of the Year.

Malala established a nonprofit fund - the Malala Fund - that will invest in community-led programs and supporting education advocates around the world.

Malala is still young. She has many years ahead of her to work her magic. Check out from the Palo Verde Valley Library, the book that introduced her to the world. It is an inspiring read.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban is on the new non-fiction shelf under 303.625 YOUS. This book is on the bestseller list. If it is out ask at the circulation desk to be placed on the waiting list.

The Palo Verde Valley Library sits on the corner of Broadway and Chanslorway and opens at 10 each day and closes at 6 in the evening, except for Saturday when it closes at 4. Closed on Sundays. All times are California (Pacific time zone) times.


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