Malcolm X for Black History Month

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of this novel free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Today I am going to share a review of the novel, X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon. I am also going to share a bit about Malcolm X and what I learned from reading the novel. Ilyasah Shabazz is the daughter of Malcolm X. She based this novel on her father's story. It is a novel since they could not go back an get the exact words and encounters that actual happened in the past. I also found a picture book at the library about Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X also by Ilyasah Shabazz, which I read to Hazel.

Since the novel is intended for high school age and above I read it and did not share it with Hazel. This novel is a wonderful fictionalization of Malcolm's life. It goes back and forth between times as he remembers his past with his family and where he is at in the present story. I have to admit the book had me crying at parts. I found it interesting and engaging. (If I do not get engaged in a novel, I will not finish it.) I will also admit to not knowing much about Malcolm X. I remember seeing the movie in the 1990s, but remember finding it a bit hard to follow. This book however made everything so personal and really told his story. I felt as if it could be Malcolm himself sharing the story. 

At the end of the novel there are acknowledgements about the characters--some real, some not and some names changed.  There is also a timeline of Malcolm's life and his family tree. Then there is a section of historical context of 1925 to 1965 to help with what was happening in the world during the story. 
Malcolm X NYWTS 2
By Ed Ford, World Telegram staff photographer
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I think what hit me the most is how his family seemed to have it all together until his father was killed. At any point in history to have eight children can be a struggle, but his father helped hold it all together while working on gaining civil rights for African Americans. His parents were so supportive of him. Throughout his childhood in Lansing, Michigan he had support, but it was not always the support he wanted or needed. He was separated from his family after his mother was taken away to a mental institute. The white social workers declared her unfit to take care of her family. Malcolm got into trouble and was sent to a foster family. In the novel he was the only black person in his school and was elected class president and was first in his class for grades. He was devastated when a teacher told him his dream of being a lawyer was unrealistic since he was black (and of course used a different term that I will not use). His half sister brought him to Boston to help out. There he discovered Roxbury, dancing, drugs and more. His half sister did not approve of his lifestyle and eventually he moved out. He dated a white woman on and off for a long time. Unfortunately that relationship ended when they were arrested for a robbery ring they were in and she testified against him for a lighter sentence. In jail he rediscovered himself. He found Islam with the help of his family and realized that many of his troubles came from his disappointment in his father abandoning them at such a young age. Once he dealt with that he became the leader his father always said he could be. This is where the novel leaves off in the story.

After being paroled Malcolm climbed quickly the ranks of the Nation of Islam and became a speaker for them. He eventually leaves this organization after some disagreements and founds his own organizations after going on a hajj in Africa. He starts to realize that the Nation of Islam's belief of separating the blacks and whites was not necessary or correct. He becomes a speaker for the Muslim Mosque, Inc., an organization he founded. He was assassinated in 1965. 

To share the story of Malcolm X with Hazel, I read to her Malcolm Little by Ilyasah Shabazz. This book shares Malcolm's childhood in a non-threatening way. I do not feel his whole life story is appropriate for Hazel to hear right now, but at least it introduces her to this historical man. We enjoyed this book as well. 

A couple of weeks ago I shared my post for Multicultural Kid Blogs Black History Month Series and Giveaway. The series began February 2nd and the giveaway is open. I will be sharing this post at the link party there as well. Please check it out!! There are some amazing prizes!! For more posts about Black History check out: