TFK Person of the Year: Malala

January 23, 2015
Brenda Iasevoli with TIME Reporting
WINNER Malala Yousafzai displays her Nobel Peace Prize, in Oslo, Norway.
ODD ANDERSEN—AFP/GETTY IMAGES

TIME FOR KIDS readers vote for Malala Yousafzai as the top newsmaker of 2014.

In December, we asked you to choose the most important newsmaker of 2014. More than 11,000 votes were cast in our online poll. Who beat out pop star Taylor Swift and football hero Peyton Manning? She is not a musician or an athlete. She is a champion of education rights for girls. Malala Yousafzai, 17, is TFK's Person of the Year. She received more than 2,900 votes.

In 2008, Taliban fighters took control of Malala's hometown of Mingora, in Pakistan (see map below). The Taliban believe girls should not go to school. Soon after they took over, Malala, then 11, gave a speech: "How Dare the Taliban Take Away My Basic Right to Education?" In early 2009, she started blogging for the BBC.

Malala is from Pakistan. It is in South Asia.

MAP BY JOE LEMONNIER FOR TIME FOR KIDS

The Taliban tried to silence Malala. On October 9, 2012, armed men boarded a truck carrying Malala and her classmates to school. "Which one is Malala?" one of them asked. "I think we must have looked at her," Malala's friend Shazia Ramzan told TIME's Aryn Baker. "We didn't say anything, but we must have looked, because then he shot her."

CHILD CARE Malala meets with kids in Trinidad. She visited the Caribbean island in July.

SEAN DRAKES—LATIN CONTENT/GETTY IMAGES

Today, Malala continues her fight for children. She has left Pakistan and is studying in Birmingham, England.

Malala is a symbol of courage. On October 10, she was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. She is the youngest Nobel winner in history.

Malala's friend Shazia attended the ceremony in Oslo, Norway. Shazia says now Malala "has more support in helping every young student go to school."

Heroes Among Us

Taylor Swift received the second-highest number of votes for TFK Person of the Year. Her album 1989 sold more than 1 million copies in its first week. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning came in third.

Who will match Malala's courage in 2015? Read TFK to learn about the heroes working to make the world a healthier and fairer place for all.