It has inspired girls in far-flung areas, who relate to her because she is a child herself.
World leaders have hailed the "Malala effect" that made young girls even more determined to get an education.
On Nov. 10, the United Nations marked Malala Day to honor her advocacy work.
And her fight for education is not over yet.
In a message this month thanking supporters, she told them not to make this about her.
"People have actually supported a cause, not an individual," she said. "Let's work together to educate girls around the world."
In her continued commitment to education, she called on Pakistani officials Friday to reverse a decision to name a school after her. She made the request over safety concerns for the students after the Taliban attacked the school.
Before she intervened, students protested and tore down her pictures over the decision to name the school after her, saying the move put them at risk.
'A new heroine'
Pakistani girls' education has long been hampered by widespread poverty and threats by hardline Islamist groups.
The United Nations estimates 32 million girls worldwide don't have access to an education. Roughly 10 percent of those live in Pakistan.
"Pakistan has a new heroine and a new cause -- a girl's right to education," former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said last month. "Malala's courage has awoken Pakistan's silent majority who are no longer prepared to tolerate the threats and intimidations of the Pakistan Taliban."
Since Malala was 11, she has used her blog to encourage girls to go to school despite Taliban threats. Her focus led her homeland to award her its first National Peace Prize last year.
In January 2009, militants took over her once-tranquil city in Swat Valley and ordered schools to stop educating girls. She blogged about the Taliban's efforts to scare girls away from learning institutions.
They raided homes to confiscate books, she said. Malala hid hers under her bed.
"I was scared of being beheaded by the Taliban because of my passion for education," she said last year.
Her fears almost came to fruition.
After the shooting, militants vowed that if she survived, they would go after her again. They also threatened to kill journalists covering her story.
"This filthy, godless media has taken huge advantage of this situation, and journalists have started passing judgment on us," the Taliban said in a statement.
Malala is uncowed.
When she takes a break from treatment, a white teddy bear with a pink bow sits on her lap.
In her hands, there is always an open book.