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What was the most interesting fact about Malala Yousafzai that you learned in your research?
I’m a huge fan of Malala and that’s why it was so exciting to write this story for the She Persisted series. My middle grade novel Amal Unbound was, in part, inspired by her bravery and speaking truth to power. Though I knew a great deal about her, through researching this book, I was able to dig deeper. For example, I knew Malala was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in highschool, but I didn’t know that she was in school the day she learned the news! And even though she won one of the greatest honors one can receive, she didn’t leave school early. Instead, she finished up her day!
What is the biggest lesson you hope young readers take away from the book?
The biggest lesson I hope young readers take away from this story is the message of believing in yourself and your dreams. Malala had numerous obstacles in her path, and pushing past them required courage and bravery. Sometimes doing the courageous or brave thing in the name of justice can feel scary, but it can be important all the same to affect change.
How did you do the research for this biography?
To learn more about Malala I used numerous sources. I read books she’d written about her life. I also watched and read interviews with her. I also watched a documentary about her life. I learned a great deal about this remarkable woman and while only a portion of all I learned made it into the story, I’m grateful to know so much more about her. All the sources I used in my story are listed in the bibliography of the book so readers can also explore and dig deeper into Malala’s life if they wish!
What question would you ask Malala Yousafzai if you had the chance to meet her?
There are so many things I’d love to ask Malala. One question I’d definitely love to ask her would be what her favorite books are. I love to read, and I imagine Malala’s reading recommendations would be books I’d be interested in reading!
What does the Persisterhood mean to you?
There are so many amazing women featured in the She Persisted series. I feel honored that I was able to share Malala’s story for this collection. She is a worthy member of the persisterhood and I am grateful to be one of the many authors writing about such amazing heroines in history!