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#BooksNotBullets - Malala Promotes Reading For 18th Birthday

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Malala Yousafzai has been making waves since she started her campaign for better eduction for girls in her home nation of Pakistan in 2009. In October 2012, as a direct response to her campaigning, a member of the Taliban walked onto the bus she was riding and shot her in the head. After recovering from the incident she relocated to the UK and took up residence in Birmingham.

Since then she's become a sensation and an exemplar for better education and gender equality in the Middle East. Her book, I Am Malala was an international best-seller and led Malala to appear in interviews and press conferences almost the world over. She celebrated her 18th birthday on Sunday and used to occasion to do two pretty astounding things: open a school in Lebanon and throw more weight behind her already successful #BooksNotBullets campaign.

It might not sound like there's much to link the two, but the Lebanese school - opened to take in Syrian girls seeking refuge - is just the first leg of a wider campaign for better education funding. That is the purpose of #BooksNotBullets, to convince world leaders to redirect military arms money and commit it to improving education standards. The hashtag has been doing the rounds on Twitter and Instagram for a few weeks now but Malala's birthday has put yet more wind in its sails.

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It's a simple premise: you pose in a selfie with a book that is particularly important to you (and the world) and explain what's so important about it. Malala herself chose to pose with her copy of The Diary of Anne Frank, explaining that 'It inspires me to believe that every child deserves the right to dream, the right to learn and the right to live in peace.' She goes on to talk about the need for education as an antithesis to extremism. 
#booksnotbullets Our Plundered Planet by Fairfield Osborn This book was written in 1948. It is an important book. A warning. Still need to be heard. So powerful... It is my bible. A manifest for the planet and humanity. Thank you #pierrerabhi for introducing me to this great book #love Education is primary if you want to raise awareness Knowledge is a precious thing it opens your heart and mind it connects you to humanity, it makes you feel stronger and it raises the desire to share. A book is a treasure. #dreams #imagination #creativity #power Education is a fundamental right. Thank you @malalafund for being an example. Humanity needs women like you You inspire the world #nobelpeaceprize #education #inspiration #malala #women #humanrights #womenareheroes #awarness #knowledge #laplaneteaupillage ##ourplunderedplanete #fairfieldosborn
A photo posted by @marioncotillard on

Thousands of others have now gotten in on the act, including actress Marion Coitillard (who posed with Fairfield Osborn's Our Plundered Planet), Grimes (The Handmaid's Tale) and author James Patterson (Peter Pan). Education charities, book shops and other sources have also posted group shots featuring dozens of people hoisting their favourite tomes.

For the past 3 years her birthday has also been declared 'Malala Day' and this has easily been the most memorable one thus far. After opening the school, the girls who would be attending presented Malala with a cake and sang happy birthday, moving her to tears. This isn't one of those campaigns that flares up for a few days and then fizzles out, it's going to keep running for a while, so I'd urge you to get involved. As a nice bonus, here's a little gallery of some of the SMF staff getting in on the act.


Aaron, our latest content writer with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Leo, sales manager and sometime content writer sporting The Rum Diary and
(for some perverse reason) the head of a sow.

Adam, another member of the sales team with Catch 22 and even creepier attire . Clearly I didn't get the memo.

And yours truly, clutching my copy of Orwell's 1984
  
(my third copy, the other two fell to pieces many moons past).



Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#BooksNotBullets - Malala Promotes Reading For 18th Birthday Reviewed by Callum Davies on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 Rating: 5

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