Parents' Guide to

Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly

By Jennifer Gennari, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Complex issues make this best for older kids.

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Malcolm X is often neglected by elementary schools, as the curriculum focuses on King; in that sense, this visually enticing picture book takes an important step in acknowledging Malcolm’s message. Some readers may not agree with the civil rights leader's message, because at one time he was a thief and an advocate of violence, and by all accounts a hot-tempered man. However, the targeted age group will learn that people can change.

It's admirable that Walter Dean Myers does not soften any aspect of Malcolm X's life and words. Because of the straightforward treatment, this picture book is clearly aimed at kids in third grade and up. Quotes from Malcolm run along the bottom of many pages, enriching the narrative. Leonard Jenkins' illustrations are provocative -- an interesting mix of realistic images of Malcolm against abstract backgrounds and foregrounds.

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