X A novel

Ilyasah Shabazz

Book - 2015

Follows the childhood of the civil rights leader to his imprisonment at age twenty, where he found the faith that would lead him to his path towards activism and justice.

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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Shabazz, Ilyasah Due Aug 30, 2022
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2015.
First edition
Physical Description
348 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
Main Author
Ilyasah Shabazz (author)
Other Authors
Kekla Magoon (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Malcolm X's third daughter collaborates with award winner Magoon (The Rock and the River, 2009) to offer a fictionalized biography of Shabazz's late father, the powerful human rights leader. The authors depict an impoverished childhood of turmoil and trouble marked by the death—perhaps the murder—of Malcolm's proud father and the forced institutionalization of his mother, followed by the dissolution of the family as Malcolm and five of his seven siblings are placed in foster homes. Shifting backward and forward through time, the story follows Malcolm from his home in Lansing, Michigan, to Boston, where he becomes a self-described "creature of the street." Then it's on to drug abuse, getting caught in the numbers racket, and, ultimately, at age 23, landing in prison, where he discovers the Nation of Islam and comes to terms with his father's oft-quoted lines from Marcus Garvey, "Up, up, you mighty race; you can accomplish what you will." Shabazz and Magoon bring energy, immediacy, and emotional power to Malcolm's first-person, present-tense voice. Often painfully candid, the authors effectively depict Malcolm's lifetime of racial slurs and casual injustices, symbolized by the image of a lynched man hanging from a tree. It's a satisfyingly complete, never simplistic story of one young man's journey through trouble to the promise of a life of purpose and meaning. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This fictionalized account of the boy who became Malcolm X maintains a suspenseful, poetic grip as it shifts among moments in his life between the years 1930 and 1948. The first-person, present-tense narrative emphasizes the experiences that affected Malcolm from early childhood to his eventual imprisonment. Memories, such as a favorite teacher telling him, "Be as good as you want in the classroom, but out those doors, you're just a nigger," or his sighting of a lynched man, trigger a sense of hopelessness that leads to self-destructive choices. Significant people in Malcolm's life offer different messages: his white lover, Sophia, fears being seen with him, while his siblings believe he has the potential for greatness. Shabazz (Growing Up X), one of Malcolm X's daughters, and Magoon (How It Went Down) capture Malcolm's passion for new experiences, the defeatism that plagued him, and the long-buried hope that eventually reclaimed him. Author notes expand on historical context and the facts behind this compelling coming-of-age story. Ages 14–up. Agent: (for Shabazz) Jason Anthony, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin; (for Magoon) Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 8 Up—Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little. The story opens with his departure from Michigan as a teen, though there are flashbacks to his younger years. It follows Malcolm through his time in Boston and Harlem, culminating with his conversion to Islam and his decision to change his name while in prison in 1948. The story does contain some gritty situations, most notably the use of the "n" word, non-graphic sex, drug and alcohol abuse, and criminal behavior. This was the reality of Malcolm X's early life, and make the later scenes that more authentic. While the novel stops prior to his rise as a civil rights leader, the excellent back matter provides historical context, bibliography, time line, family tree, and a note from the author (who is also the third of Malcolm X's five daughters). This is an eye-opening look at an important historical figure. The author's honesty about his early troubles serves to convey that it is possible to rise through adversity to make a positive difference in this world. A worthwhile addition to any collection.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH [Page 144]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Follows the childhood of the civil rights leader to his imprisonment at age twenty, where he found the faith that would lead him to his path towards activism and justice.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Co-written by the best-selling author of Malcolm Little and daughter of Malcolm X, a novel based her father's formative years describes his father's murder, his mother's imprisonment and his challenging effort to pursue an education in law.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor BookCowritten by Malcolm X's daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world.Malcolm Little's parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that's a pack of lies'after all, his father's been murdered, his mother's been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There's no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm's efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he's found is only an illusion'and that he can't run forever.X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.