I Am Malala

I Am Malala Character List


The author of this memoir, a young Pashtun woman who grew up in Swat Valley, Pakistan. She went to school throughout her entire childhood, and because of her father's example, she became famous for speaking out in favor of girls' education. When she was fifteen years old, the Taliban shot Malala in response to her activism.


Malala's father, whose dream growing up was to start a school. He founded the Kushal School, which Malala attended throughout her childhood, and he was a constant advocate for education. Though daughters are typically less prized than sons, Ziauddin loved Malala from the moment she was born.

Tor Pekai

Malala's mother, who follows the Muslim code of purdah for women. She loves Malala fiercely and serves as a role model for her. Tor Pekai did not go to school, having sold her books for candy after the first day because she was jealous of her friends who got to stay home.


Malala's middle brother, who is two years younger than her.


Malala's youngest brother, who is five years younger than Kushal.

Malalai of Maiwand

The Pashtun heroine who was Malala's namesake. She is famous for using her courage to inspire her people to fight against the British army and win the battle.

Rohul Amin

Malala's grandfather, whom she calls Baba. He studied in India and became a great speaker, and Malala's father spent his childhood attempting to impress him.

General Zia

A military general who took power in Pakistan in 1977. He is famous for encouraging the Islamization of Pakistan, and under him Pakistan became an ally of the United States.

Mohammad Naeem Khan

Malala's father's friend, and the man who originally set out to start a school with him.


Another of Malala's father's friends, who played a much larger role in co-founding the Kushal School after Naeem left.

Benazir Bhutto

The first female head-of-state in the Islamic world, who took power in Pakistan after General Zia died. She was a profound role model for Malala.


Malala's best friend throughout her childhood, who attends school with her and provides competition for best in the class. Moniba and Malala continue to keep in touch after Malala leaves Pakistan.

General Musharraf

Musharraf took power in Pakistan a few years after Malala's birth, becoming Pakistan's fourth military leader.

The Mufti

An Islamic scholar who attempted to close the Kushal School because it educated girls.


The founder of Pakistan, who set out to make it a land of religious tolerance. He was laid to rest in a mausoleum in Karachi.


The leader of the branch of the Taliban that took over Swat Valley.

Nawab Ali

An Urdu teacher at Malala's school who refused to teach them anymore after the Taliban began to take over.

Madam Maryam

The principal at Malala's school, who is like a second mother figure to Malala and the other girls at the Kushal School.


The girl who repeatedly challenges Malala for the top spot in the class.


The neighbor girl who steals Malala's favorite toy. Malala steals from her as payback, but gets caught, thereby realizing that it is better to be honest.

Abdul Hai Kakar

The BBC correspondent who seeks out Malala to write the diary of Gul Makai about life living under the Taliban.

Irfan Ashraf

The Pakistani journalist who assists in filming a documentary about Malala's family life under the Taliban.

Adam Ellick

An American video journalist who assists in filming a documentary about Malala's family life under the Taliban.

Shiza Shahid

An Islamabad native who went to study at Stanford University. She contacts the Yousafzai family after seeing the documentary about them and becomes one of their supporters, along with a role model for Malala.

Dr. Afzal

Malala's father's friend, who transports them out of Swat when they escape and become IDPs for three months.

General Abbas

The chief spokesman for the Pakistani army, who sends Malala's father money to pay his teachers' salaries after three months as IDPs.

Zahid Khan

A friend of Malala's father who was shot in the face by the Taliban shortly before Malala was shot.

Usman Bhai Jan

The bus driver, who is driving when the Taliban pulls the bus over and shoots Malala.

Dr. Javid Kayani

One of the British doctors who come to Peshawar to assess Malala.

Dr. Fiona Reynolds

The other of the British doctors who assesses Malala in Peshawar. She works at a children's hospital in Birmingham, and stays at Malala's side as she is airlifted to the UK from Pakistan.


The hospital's Muslim chaplain, who helps to ease Malala's transition into this new culture.

Atuallah Khan

The man who shot Malala.

Asif Zardari

The President of Pakistan, who comes to visit Malala while she is in the hospital in Birmingham.