He Named Me Malala | SLJ DVD Review

redstarHe Named Me Malala. 88 min. Dist. by Twentieth Century Fox. 2015. $19.99. UPC 0024543225003. He Named Me Malala

Gr 7 Up –Shortly after Ziauddin Yousafzai’s daughter was born, a relative shared with him their family tree. Yousafzai saw that although 300 years of his family history were traced in the branches, there was no mention of a single woman. In that moment, he wrote his newborn daughter’s name—Malala (which means sadness)—indelibly on the tree. She was named for a storied Pashtun warrior woman who died while inspiring an army to go bravely into battle. But this Malala has a different fate. Documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim lovingly chronicles the life of the fearless, Nobel Peace Prize–winning Pakistani teenager. In 2012, she was brutally shot in the face for speaking out against the Taliban in defense of girls’ right to an education. Viewers see Malala (who now lives in England) as a daughter who loves her parents (with a particularly strong bond with her father), a sister who picks on her younger brothers, a student who struggles to earn good grades, and a teen who giggles about dreamy sports stars. Yet she’s simultaneously an articulate icon of peace, traveling the world to crusade for global children’s rights. She speaks passionately at the UN, visits with refugees crossing the border between Syria and Jordan, and lends support to schoolchildren in Africa. VERDICT This story is by turns moving, thought provoking, heartrending, and inspiring. While the film is too intense for younger viewers because of the account of the shooting, this significant movie should be seen by older middle schoolers and beyond.–Jennifer Verbrugge, Minnesota Department of Education, Roseville, MN

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