Today I have Malcolm X for the whole family: a picture book for children, a YA novel for teens, and, of course, Malcolm X’s autobiography for the rest of us.
Malcolm Little, the picture book, is written by Ilyasah Shabazz, one of Malcolm X’s daughters, and illustrated by AG Ford. It covers Malcolm’s childhood, beginning with his parents’ marriage and ending in the seventh grade, when he was elected class president at school. This serious but hopeful picture book focuses on his relationship with his family. The imagery of a butterfly—beginning very low, building a strong shell, growing, and finally flying—threads this heartfelt book together.
X is a YA novel also written by Ilyasah Shabazz (with Kekla Magoon). Although it’s shelved with fiction, it’s a fairly faithful representation of Malcolm X’s middle years. I also think it works better as a nonfiction book than as a novel. It covers Malcolm’s time living in Boston and Harlem: from the time he moved to Boston to live with his half-sister Ella when he was fifteen, until he was in prison at the age of twenty-three. Because this book covers a period when he was living a morally questionable life and deals with serious topics, I would only recommend it for more mature teens.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X is his detailed life story from before his birth until the year that he died. (May Allah have mercy on him and raise his ranks.) It is beautifully written, with gems on every page.
I know that societies often have killed the people who have helped to change those societies. And if I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help to destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America – then, all the credit is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine.
Let me know—have you read The Autobiography of Malcolm X?