Malcolm Little has always gotten in trouble. He and his brother are expert thieves, bringing food home when there's no money to buy it. He's not afraid to get into a fight here or there to prove he's tough. But when his mother is put into a hospital and his family starts breaking apart, Malcolm decides that he, and everyone else, would be better off if he left. His new life in Boston is so exciting, especially the time that he spends "down the hill" from his half-sister's house, in Roxbury. The city comes alive for him there, filled with jazz, dancing, girls and trouble. In order to fit in there, he's going to need to change his look and start working on his hustle so he can make some money. Can he make a new life for himself without going back to his same old ways?
Why It's Worth Reading:
This is a fictionalized account of the young life of Malcolm X, back when he was Malcolm Little from Lansing, MI. Co-written by his daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, the story draws upon Malcolm's journals, letters, and autobiography to recreate a realistic account of the years he spent in Boston & Harlem before becoming the well-known historical figure that we know today. What an eye-opening experience to read about teenage Malcolm Little, fighting the same temptations that today's teenagers fight while simultaneously struggling with the death of his father, the institutionalization of his mother, and the frustration of feeling that the messages of Marcus Garvey ("Up, up you might race!") that they had always preached to him were pointless. I always love to learn more about the formative life experiences that contributed to the development of a great person. X is a fascinating and revealing novel if ever there was one.
Author: Ilyasah Shabazz & Kekla Magoon
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Awards/Accolades: 7 starred reviews, a 2016 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction pick, and the Michigan Humanities Council selection for the 2017-18 Great Michigan Read.
Do We Own a Copy?: Many! We received a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council for 30 copies of X. We have many copies in the LMC and there is now at least 1 copy in every English classroom library!