Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb

I Am Malala

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I Am Malala Chapters 16-20 Summary & Analysis

Part 3: Three Girls, Three Bullets

Chapter 16 Summary: The Valley of Sorrows

Malala and her family head back home a week after the prime minister announces it is safe. However, many families “weren’t convinced it was safe to return” so the valley is empty (190). Malala and her father return to the school to survey the damage. Debris, anti-Taliban slogans, and bullet casings are scattered about. “I felt sorry that our precious school had become a battleground” (191).

The Taliban, it seems, is truly gone. “My father’s friend Ahmad Shah called it a ‘controlled peace, not a durable peace.’ But gradually people returned to the valley because Swat is beautiful and we cannot bear to be away from it for long” (193). Once their school is up and running, Malala’s class takes a trip. They participate in workshops and learn how to tell their stories.

Despite the time away from the valley, the teachers expect to be paid. Malala and her teacher Madam Maryam write to General Abbas, explaining the situation. “He was very kind and sent us 1,100,000 rupees so my father could pay everyone three months’ back pay” (197).

A monsoon descends upon the valley and the school is flooded. Malala recalls it taking several days before the water receded enough to go back. The valley is devastated—bridges were washed away and houses destroyed. The valley receives little help. “Foreign governments pointed out most of our politicians weren’t paying any income tax, so it was a bit much to ask hard-pressed taxpayers in their own countries to contribute” (203).

The horror continued when Malala’s father’s friend Dr. Mohammed Farooq is shot and killed. “Our country had so many crises and no real leaders to tackle them” (204).

Chapter 17 Summary: Praying to Be Tall

Malala talks about being thirteen and no longer growing. She fears not getting taller because if she was short “it wasn’t easy to be authoritative” (205). Although she dislikes high heels, she wears them.

Malala parallels this with a story about a Christian woman being sentenced to death. One person who spoke out for the Christian woman was a governor and…

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