A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This book sets out to establish a kid-friendly look at the life of Malcolm Little and his family before he became known as Malcolm X. It introduces important moments in African-American history, including the Marcus Garvey Movement and the impact of the Ku Klux Klan on black people.
Malcolm Little carries several messages of hope and places a strong emphasis on overcoming obstacles. Many of the leadership characteristics Malcolm showed later in his life were nurtured when he was a young boy.
Positive Role Models
There are several role models here, including Malcolm Little and his parents. His parents are shown as loving nurturers who taught their children to love themselves, culture, and the world around them.
Violence & Scariness
Townspeople burn down the Little family's home (4-year-old Malcolm and his family are shown watching the house consumed by flames). A two-page spread depicts the funeral scene and coffin after the Ku Klux Klan murders Malcolm's father. After his father's death, the family lose their home, and all eight of the Little children become wards of the state, split up among family friends. Malcolm is shown being warmly welcomed by the couple who took him in.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X is a picture book about civil rights activist Malcolm X's life up through seventh grade, as told by his daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz. It has some instances of violence, including townspeople burning down the Little family's Omaha, Nebraska, home (4-year-old Malcolm and his family are shown watching the house in flames) and his father's death at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan (discussed in a spread depicting the funeral scene and coffin). After his father's death, the family loses their home; all eight Little children become wards of the state, split up among family friends. Malcolm is shown being warmly welcomed by the couple who took him in.
Is It Any Good?
Richly illustrated by AG Ford, MALCOLM LITTLE: THE BOY WHO GREW UP TO BECOME MALCOLM X details Malcolm X's life as a young boy. His daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, uses family history and stories to illuminate an often neglected area of her father's life.
Written in easy and somewhat repetitive prose, the stories reveal a child raised in a loving and nurturing environment despite the many struggles his family faced. Malcolm's early leadership qualities are seen as the product of both natural ability and the way he was brought up. Readers may find they can apply the Little family's lessons to their own life. Malcolm Little makes a nice companion piece to other, independent sources of information on the life of Malcolm X.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.