X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

Before he was a leading human rights activist, who was Malcolm X?

X: A Novel tells the story of young Malcolm X—born Malcolm Little and later also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz—as he copes with his father’s death, his mother’s being taken away, and the inevitable separation from his siblings. The story opens with sixteen-year-old Malcolm boarding a bus from his home in Lansing, Michigan to Boston, where he plans to live with his half-sister Ella. The novel follows Malcolm through his adventures in Boston and Harlem while incorporating flashbacks to his younger years.

Though the novel is a fictionalized account of Malcolm X’s younger years, the tales of the world of jazz, zoot suits, conked hair, girls, and drugs runs very close to the narrative of the activist’s early life as described in The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

At its core, X: A Novel is a story about a young black man trying to make sense of a deeply racialized 1940s America. It is co-written by Kekla Magoon, author of How It Went Down, and Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X. This novel is a must-read for anyone who wishes to learn more about the man who has inspired generations of people in the U.S. and abroad.

By Bruna

MLA Citation: Shabazz, Ilyasah, and Kekla Magoon. X: A Novel. Candlewick Press, 2015.

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