LONDON, March 28, 2013 -- The Pakistani teenager who survived an assassination attempt and inspired a worldwide movement for girls' education will soon become a published author.
Malala Yousafzai, 15, says she wants her book, "I Am Malala," to reveal and help children across the world who still struggle to get to school.
"I want to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61 million children who can't get education," she said in a statement released by her British publisher, Weidenfeld and Nicolson. "I want it to be part of the campaign to give every boy and girl the right to go to school. It is their basic right."
Yousafzai was shot by Taliban gunmen in her native Swat, Pakistan, last October. After emergency surgery in Pakistan she was flown to Birmingham, England, for medical treatment and has just begun school. The book will document the shooting, her survival and her recovery, which have turned her into a global ambassador. She has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and was runner up for Time's Person of the Year, behind only President Obama.
"Malala is already an inspiration to millions around the world," said Michael Pietsch, executive vice president and publisher of Little, Brown, which will publish the memoir in the United States. "Reading her story of courage and survival will open minds, enlarge hearts, and eventually allow more girls and boys to receive the education they hunger for."
Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala's father and the founder of the Pakistani school she used to attend, told ABC News today that she was very happy back in class. She likes her new friends, he said, and intends to finish her General Certificate of Secondary Education, or GSCEs, in Birmingham. By then she will be 16 and consider attending another school for her Advanced Levels – the equivalent of the last two years in high school in the United States.
Malala's cause still needs urgent attention, especially in Pakistan. This week, Malala and her father became the first two signatories on a petition dedicated to Shahnaz Nazli, a girls public school teacher who was killed on Tuesday near the Afghan border. Nazli, 41, was about 500 feet from work when a car with gunmen drove up, shot her, and sped away. Nobody accepted responsibility, but local officials said the killing matched previous Taliban targeting of girls school building, workers and students – including Malala.
"We call on the president and government of Pakistan to end the killings and violence that prevent girls' education and to ensure all girls can go to school," reads the petition, which is posted on www.educationenvoy.org. "We call for all girls and all teachers to be protected and given security to enable them to enjoy their basic right to be educated."
The UN's special envoy for global education, Gordon Brown, asked for international action to ensure that Nazli was not killed in vain.
"No one should be shot for wanting to go to school or wanting to teach girls," he said.
"I Am Malala" will be published in the fall.