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Dear Malala Yousafzai

Sari Richmond
White Station Middle School
Memphis
4th - 6th Grade
1st

Dear Ms. Yousafzai,

You probably get a lot of letters, telling you thank you, but it would mean a lot to me if you could take a little bit of your time to read this, and know how much you changed my life.

My name is Sari Richmond, I live in Memphis, Tennessee, and I have admired you and your writing ever since I heard about you. Four years ago, you were shot, and I didn’t know. I was only seven. Three years later, I found out about the shooting and it shocked me. I have always been one of the top students in my class and think about my education a lot like you do. I have always been proud of being a girl. Whenever we did a girl vs. boy activity in school, especially including academics, I tried so hard! When I began to read your book, I noticed that being better than boys wasn’t the way to be proud of who I was. When I arrived at the part of the book when you wrote about being shot, I was completely astonished. To think a girl was shot for seeking education was just dismaying. And the only reason was that you were a girl.

Three months later, I went to the bookstore with my family and I picked out your book, I Am Malala. I love to read, and finished the book quickly. I absolutely adored it, and more importantly, it inspired me. I think about a lot of things you said every day, like when you talked about the new girl who won first place in your class, and how much that angered you. After that, your father comforted you and reminded you that this was a chance to appreciate and grow. Later in the book, I realized how much you put into this and how much it meant to you. From that moment on, I wanted to fight for girls’ education all over the world. Your book showed me that one girl could change her town, her country, and her world. I alone could be a person that girls look up to. That just empowered me and pushed me to do my best in everything I do and attempt, and that it could pay off one day.

Now, I am eleven years old, and I still think about you almost every day. If I feel discouraged or upset, I remind myself of what your father told you, and I can always get over the emotional mountain. Times can be hard for me, but it’s nothing compared to what you faced. I should consider myself lucky that I can go to school without risking my life.

One phrase in your book that really struck me is when you wrote at the very end “I am Malala. My world has changed, but I have not.” Your book, and especially this phrase, gave me a newfound confidence, and it always keeps me going. To me, it’s like saying I was meant to change the world and I was meant to be a figure that girls could look up to. When someone doubts me, I know what I can say. Malala did it, and so can I. So I thank you for all you have done in this world and what you continue to do every day. Please continue to do what you do, and by the end of your lifetime, the world will have seen change and that change will live on. Your book inspired me and I hope it continues to inspire young girls all over the world.

Very Sincerely,

Sari Richmond. 

2017