Malcolm X's Daughter Releases Novel About Her Father's Coming of Age Timed With the 50th Anniversary of Assassination on February 21, 2015


by Ilyasah Shabazz

with Kekla Magoon

February 21, 2015, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of famed civil rights leader Malcolm X. His legacy lives on in his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz, who has written X: A Novel, a revelatory and timely book about her father’s young adulthood and his journey toward becoming the man who made history.

Written with Kekla Magoon and published by Candlewick Press, X: A Novel is a riveting read, speaking to the still-hot tension that affects our society today. Amidst diversity initiatives, nationwide protests, and public demand for racial equality, Malcolm X’s story remains as relevant today as it was more than fifty years ago. X is a necessary book, reminding us to remember our history lest we be doomed to repeat it.

The wayward and intelligent teen encapsulated in the pages will grow up to become Malcolm X, and it is an immensely satisfying but tragic realization. His story deals with race, discrimination, and oppression, issues that are all too familiar today. His childhood, marked by the murder of his father and his mother’s forced incarceration in an insane asylum, gives way to a young adulthood spent trying to find consistency and purpose in a life stripped of his most constant support. Malcolm is bright, young, and at the top of his class—but none of this matters when his favorite teacher laughs at his aspirations, declaring that the color of his skin will prevent him from ever achieving his dream of becoming a lawyer. Malcolm turns to girls, reefer, and jazz to drown out his parents’ influence and his own potential, landing in jail after a string of burglaries.

X: A Novel has received six starred reviews. Kirkus calls it “A completely absorbing novel. . . . Readers for whom pre-civil rights America is ancient history will find this poetic interpretation eye-opening and riveting.” Booklist praises the novel in another starred review, raving that “Shabazz and Magoon bring energy, immediacy, and emotional power to Malcolm’s first-person, present-tense voice. . . . It’s a satisfyingly complete, never simplistic story of one young man’s journey through trouble to the promise of a life of purpose and meaning.”

Malcolm’s story is one that needs to be told. In this tale of loss, learning, and understanding, Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon unveil Malcolm Little’s journey in a raw, emotional package, depicting his struggles and successes with equal aplomb and insight.

In Ilyasah’s own words, “It was important to focus on his teen years in this book, because Malcolm has had an impact on so many young people all over the world. Teens think he made these significant contributions as an old man, but they don’t realize that he was just like them. He was able to turn the challenges that he endured into a purpose-driven life of significance.”


Ilyasah Shabazz, third daughter of Malcolm X, is an activist, producer, motivational speaker, and author of the critically acclaimed Growing Up X and the picture book Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X. She lives in Westchester County, New York.

Kekla Magoon 
is an award-winning author of many young adult novels, including The Rock and the River, for which she received the 2010 John Steptoe New Talent Author Award. Kekla Magoon lives in Vermont.


Available now ● Price $16.99/ CAN $19.00 ● HC ISBN: 978-0-7636-6967-6 ● Age 14 and up

For review copies and interview requests, contact: 

Jamie Tan, Publicist; 617-588-4523

Candlewick Press – 99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 0214




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