Be Like Malala

Ever since Zoey was a toddler, we have made a trip to the library part of our Saturday ritual. One of the things that I love about my daughter is that she’s a history buff. She’s only 7, yet her favorite types of books are my husband’s history texts from the high school history class that he teaches and biographies of any kind. The thirst for knowledge of all things history didn’t end with her pilgrim obsession.  I feel that it’s my responsibility to feed this passion and take the opportunity to expose her to all the great women in history as well. I was so happy to discover the website A Mighty Girl a few years ago. In case you’re unfamiliar with it, they consider themselves to be “The world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls.”

Each week, I browse this site and make a list of books to look for at the library. So far, we’ve enjoyed books about Lucille Ball, Jane Goodall, and Helen Keller to name a few. Zoey’s favorites are anything to do with the pioneer era. She loves the Little House on the Prairie books for her age. I can’t wait until she’s old enough to read the originals. I love experiencing her wonder at the lives of girls and women in circumstances very different from her own and her realization that there are similarities to her life as well. The women we’ve read about all have something in common: STRENGTH. I love showing her what badasses women have been throughout history because my daughter is a badass in the making (if I have anything to say about it!).

So you can imagine my delight when last week, Zoey brought home a book about Malala Yousafzai from her school library. I was so excited that she took the initiative to borrow something other than a Barbie book or even worse, a Judy Moody book! On Saturday, she read me the story of Malala and we talked about what it must have been like for Malala to be so brave. We talked about how girls in other countries don’t have the same access to schools and other freedoms as we do in America.


A little while later, I peeked in on her playing with her dolls in the living room. She had taken a scarf and covered her hair as if she were wearing a hijab. I asked her what she was up to. She said she was “being like Malala.” It reminded me of the blog post I saw where a photographer dressed her daughter as influential women in history. If I ever had a doubt that our trips to the library to discover the lives of strong women were getting through to her, well, that doubt is gone.

In a time where many ask why bring a child into this messed up world, it’s easy to be consumed with worry about their future–what kind of world are we leaving them, after all? Instead, I’m choosing to dream of my daughter as a change maker, a champion for progress and peace. As her mom, my role is to share with her the promises that these remarkable women who came before her have made to every girl, every human-the Malala’s of the world, the ones who refused to be silent.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make my list for this week’s library list. Who’s it going to be? Amelia Earhart? Rosa Parks? Rachel Carson? It’s going to be a long list.

4 thoughts on “Be Like Malala

  1. Awesome! I’m currently reading I Am Malala and having these same conversations with my daughter. The pictures in that book also create discussion around gratitude. (We need to work on that a lot these days.) Be so proud of your curious, intelligent daughter! You’re doing an amazing job, Mama!


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