FICTION

Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X.

Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X. illus. by AG Ford. 48p. S & S/Atheneum. Jan. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442412163; ebk. $12.99. ISBN 9781442433045. LC 2011041514.
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Gr 4–7—The author of this handsome, inspirational offering is Malcolm X's daughter-an educator, activist, and motivational speaker. Though the book does provide anecdotes from the subject's childhood, it is largely the story of Malcolm's parents, Earl and Louise Little, and how they helped shape their son's character and ideology. His mother was part of the Marcus Garvey movement and was dedicated to the idea of international freedom and equality. His father was an impassioned speaker: "his words had the power to move people, to make them laugh, cry, feel, and think." At the age of four, Malcolm and his family watched their house burn at the hands of people who disagreed with the family's beliefs. While young Malcolm is described as a mischievous prankster from a large, close-knit family, the haunting fire and traumatic events that followed left him "sad, lonely confused…broken." Still, Malcolm's story ends triumphantly in the seventh grade when he, the only African American at school, is elected class president. Ford's oil paintings are accomplished and historically accurate; images of the Littles courting and Earl preaching are painterly and realistic while images of the Little children are more stylized. Dense pages of text make this offering more suitable for upper-elementary or middle-school students.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
Malcolm X's daughter chronicles her father's childhood in this lengthy picture book biography. The horror of tragic events--the family's home being set on fire, the murder of Malcolm's father by the Ku Klux Klan--is tempered by (overwritten) descriptions of more mundane events, such as gardening or fishing. Realistic oil paintings show ordinary moments from an extraordinary figure's formative years.

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