Tuesday, June 21, 2016

X: A NOVEL by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2015. 384p. ISBN 9780763669676 hc. $16.99   Gr. 9-12   TEEN FIC
Categorized as historical fiction, X: A NOVEL is the storyteller’s version of Malcom X’s biography.  The book is written by Malcolm Little’s daughter, who had knowledge of family stories, along with Magoon, award winning author of young adult novels, which may explain why this book was crafted as a work of fiction.  The story, told in first person narrative, covers the years from 1930 to 1948, flashing back to Little’s childhood surrounded by family in Lansing, Michigan during the Great Depression.  His traditional upbringing disintegrates with the loss of Malcolm’s father, the redistribution of the family by social services, and his experiences in foster care.  As a teen, he becomes involved in illegal activities and heads out to the east coast, ending up in Harlem and finally in prison.  With the help of the authors, Malcolm’s story becomes more than just a case study in American history.  It’s a story full of childhood memories and emotions experienced by a young black man in segregated America, leaving clues as to why he transformed into Civil Rights leader, Malcolm X, in his later years.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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