In this uplifting work Yousafzai shares the survival stories of female refugees from around the world.
Before she was a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Yousafzai was displaced. When she was just 11-years-old, the Taliban forced Yousafzai and her family to leave their idyllic home in the Swat Valley and join the ranks of Pakistan’s Internally Displaced Persons. Yousafzai recounts the agony of leaving behind her books, friends, and pet chickens and the disappointment of interrupted schooling. She also vividly describes the horror of seeing schools reduced to rubble as a result of bombings, an experience that both politicized her and forced her family into exile in England. The author devotes only about a quarter of the book to her own story, the remainder is a collection of oral histories from displaced women and girls from countries ranging from Yemen to Colombia to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each refugee’s tale of survival is equal parts devastating and inspiring, and the narrators do not shy away from the complex, contradictory experiences of fleeing a homeland. The narratives are filled with emotionally specific descriptive details that render each voice powerful and unique. In the prologue, Yousafzai specifically states that her purpose is to transform refugees from nameless, faceless statistics into who they really are: humans whose identities are more than just their displaced status.
A poignant, fascinating, and relevant read. (author’s note, background information, biographies) (Nonfiction. 13-adult)