p. 123 “First the Taliban took our music, then our Buddhas, then our history.” Our summer reading list for middle school includes this title, this year. It is an important story.It needs to be heard by the young. Despite the stilted feel in reading due to the choppy sentence structure and abrupt turns in sequencing, it is remains weighty. So why would I want my students to read this particular story of a girl, no less (I work with all boys)? Malala telling of her daily life in the Swat Valley – interactions at school with disappointments when not winning a contest, or having to share a room with cousins – makes this relevant to any young student. Our students have the same experiences, albeit different settings and circumstances – riding a bus to school, sharing favorite foods at a picnic, gossiping, laughing at silly jokes. And it this is what makes a compelling and moving story – that this horrific violence and injustice is perpetrated on a young person whose only wish is to learn. It is not a stretch for a reader to go from observer to participant. Empathy can change a perspective and a changed perspective can change the world. I am counting on my students to do just this!
Yousafzai, Malala and Christine Lamb. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By the Taliban. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2013. Print.