In perfect English, she answered that her people need her.
"I shall raise my voice," she insisted.
"If I didn't do it, who would?" she said.
Girls who are scared should fight their fear, she said.
"Don't sit in your bedrooms.
"God will ask you on the day of judgment, 'Where were you when your people were asking you ... when your school fellows were asking you and when your school was asking you ...'Why I am being blown up?'"
Like father, like daughter
In January 2009, Malala and her father sat in their living room drinking tea and eating beef and curry stew.
It was the night before the Taliban had issued their edict against girls in school.
Ziauddin Yousufzai was beside himself. He knew he would have to close one of the private schools he ran for girls.
He knew it meant his daughter's education would come to an end.
Yousufzai grew up in the Swat area with little access to educational resources, but he had a natural passion for learning and literature. He was devastated that his daughter would be robbed of those pleasures.
That's according to Adam Ellick, a reporter with the New York Times who filmed a 2009 documentary about Malala and her father and the Taliban's campaign against girls' education.
Ellick spent months with the father and daughter and formed a deep friendship with them.
"Ziauddin had a revolutionary zeal and deep commitment to education," Ellick said this week. "This charming little girl, she is a mini-version of him in many ways. She loves school, homework. Whenever she would meet me she had a bookbag full of books."
"She didn't have that idealistic activist attitude when she's 10 and 11, because who does?" Ellick said. "Her situation demanded that she grow up before she should have. She caught his contagious commitment and idealism."
In the family's living room in 2009, Yousufzai lovingly put his palm atop his daughter's head.
He said he fell in love with her the minute she was born.
"A newborn child ... I looked into her eyes," he said. "I love her ... I love her."
Yousufzai explained what he thought of the Taliban, revealing a daring spirit.