illustrated portrait of Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala

by Malala Yousafzai

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I Am Malala Characters

The main characters in I Am Malala are Malala Yousafzai, Ziauddin Yousafzai, and Maulana Fazlullah.

  • Malala Yousafzai is the author of the memoir. She grows up in a progressive Pashtun family in Pakistan’s Swat Valley and becomes a courageous, well-educated teenager whose opposition to extremism leads her to become a target of the Taliban, who attempt to assassinate her. She survives and continues working for peace.
  • Ziauddin Yousafzai is Malala’s father and the owner of the Khushal School. He believes strongly in educating girls and is a vocal opponent of Taliban rule.
  • Maulana Fazlullah is the brutal leader of the Swat Valley Taliban.


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Malala Yousafzai

Malala is a courageous Pashtun girl who is shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education in Pakistan.

Ziauddin Yousafzai

Ziauddin is Malala's indomitable father, who is himself an outspoken critic of the Taliban and militant Islam.

Toor Pekai Yousafzai

Toor Pekai is Malala's loving and supportive mother. She is kind, generous, and an extremely devout Muslim.

Khushal Yousafzai

Khushal is Malala's younger brother.

Atal Yousafzai

Atal is Malala's youngest brother.

Rohul Amin

Rohul Amin is Malala's paternal grandfather. He is a renowned religious teacher in his community and a charismatic public speaker.

Madam Maryam

Madam Maryam is the headmistress, or principal, of the Khushal Girls' High School. The Khushal School first began as a mixed primary school, with Ziauddin as principal. Eventually, the Khushal School expanded to include separate boys’ and girls' high schools.


Hidayatullah is a former college friend of Ziauddin's. He and Ziauddin were the founders of the original Khushal School.

General Pervez Musharraf

General Musharraf was Pakistan's 10th president and 4th military ruler. He came to power after the Pakistani army's successful coup against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

General Zia

General Zia was Pakistan's 6th president and 3rd military ruler. As Army Chief of Staff, he successfully instigated a coup that deposed Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977.

President Asif Ali Zardari

President Zardari is Benazir Bhutto's widower and was the 11th president of Pakistan. He was in power when American Navy SEALS executed Osama bin Laden at his compound in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011.

General Ashfaq Kayani

General Kayani was President Zardari's army chief of staff when Navy SEALS raided Osama bin Laden's compound in 2011.

Dr. Fiona Reynolds

Dr. Reynolds is a specialist in children's intensive care at the Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Dr. Javid Kayani

Dr. Kayani is an emergency care consultant at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

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Malala Yousafzai