illustrated portrait of Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala

by Malala Yousafzai

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What does Malala relate to in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the book I Am Malala?

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In I Am Malala, when Malala Yousafzai reads The Wonderful Wizard of Oz she relates to the adventures of Dorothy. Dorothy is far from home and has to overcome many obstacles to reach her goals, just as Malala is in England, far from her homeland of Pakistan, and must persevere despite many obstacles in her crusade on behalf of education for girls.

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In the autobiography I Am Malala, the author writes of her love for education despite the efforts of Islamic radicals to ban girls and women from schools. At an early age, Malala becomes an activist: writing a blog under a pseudonym, meeting with government leaders, and publicly speaking on behalf of education for girls. She receives death threats but continues to speak out and to go to school.

One day, two men board the school bus Malala is on and shoot her in the head. The bullet goes through her left eye, and when she arrives at the hospital, she is near death. She is flown from Pakistan to England, where she undergoes operations that save her life and restore the nerves in her face.

Although she was shot on October 9th, she doesn't wake up until October 16th and is not lucid until days later. An operation on her facial nerve takes place on November 11th. Some time after the operation, the headaches she had been having ceased, and she was able to start reading again. The first book she selected was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. She identified with the character of Dorothy because though Dorothy always wanted to go home, just like Malala did, she stayed in Oz to help those who needed her, such as the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. Dorothy faced many obstacles while attempting to reach her goals, just as Malala did. From this, Malala learned that it is important to be persistent when you are trying to accomplish something important.

After Malala read the book, she told her father all about it, and this helped her father realize that Malala's memory was intact, something that had been concerning her family.

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