July 9, 2015
Malala Yousafzai calls for #booksnotbullets
by Taylor Sperry
All that Malala Yousafzai—the first Pakistani and youngest-ever person to win a Nobel Prize—wants for her 18th birthday is that world leaders take 8 days off from spending money on weapons and invest it instead in education. In 8 days, she says, we could save “the $39 billion needed to provide 12 years of free, quality education to every child on the planet.”
Earlier this week she launched #booksnotbullets, a campaign to spread the word about her mission and ask others to join her: “Post of a photo of yourself holding up your favorite book now and share why YOU choose #booksnotbullets—and why world leaders should, too.”
In her own post, Malala held a copy of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl and wrote, “The book reveals the courage and strength of a young girl living under war and conflict. It inspires me to believe that every child deserves the right to dream, the right to learn, and the right to live in peace.”
Malala herself has been a symbol of courage and strength, and certainly the right to an education, ever since she became an activist for the right of Pakistani girls to attend school, surviving an assassination attempt when she was only 15. Shockingly undaunted, she published I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban in 2013 and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
Here she is at the 2015 Oslo Education Summit, where she asked world leaders to make a commitment to education: “What I am talking about is not impossible,” she said.
Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.