Tag Archives: ilyasah shabazz

New Releases – January 2015

The Law of Loving Others by Kate Axelrod (Razorbill)

“Seventeen-year-old Emma returns home from boarding school for winter break to find that her mother is having a psychotic break—her parents never told her that her mother was diagnosed as schizophrenic years ago and has been taking medication for the condition since college. Emma’s mother’s subsequent institutionalization is like an earthquake in Emma’s life. … her actions never feel anything but realistic in this reflective and incisive exploration of the far-reaching effects of mental illness.” — Publishers Weekly

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

“Fairfold is a contemporary American town long beset by fairies. This isn’t a secret—rather it’s a tourist attraction that provides the citizens with a healthy source of income (although the visitors do occasionally get eaten by the more dangerous fairies). Hazel, a local high school student, is in love with the town’s biggest tourist attraction, a fairy prince who has slept for generations in a glass coffin in the forest. In this, she has a friendly rivalry going with her gay brother, Ben, who also loves the sleeping prince. … An enjoyable read with well-developed characters and genuine chills.” — Publishers Weekly

Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman (Henry Holt)

“Fifteen-year-old Alex Stringfellow has lived her entire life feeling like she’s two people, male and female. Though previously identified as male, Alex decides to begin living as a female. What Alex doesn’t know is that she was born intersex, and her parents had chosen not to tell her. To make her transition to living as a female easier, Alex enrolls in a new school where she quickly makes friends. While her adjustment is mostly smooth, Alex is concerned about how her friends will react if they find out she’s a lesbian or if they find out about her ”noodle.“ Her transition at home is less easy. … Brugman tackles a sensitive issue with grace and grit.” — School Library Journal

Passenger on the Pearl: The True Story of Emily Edmonson’s Flight from Slavery by Winifred Conkling (Algonquin Young Readers)

“In her first work of nonfiction for young readers (Sylvia & Aki, 2011), Conkling presents the true story of Emily Edmonson and her five siblings who escaped from slavery only to be caught and sent further south. … Clearly written, well-documented, and chock full of maps, sidebars, and reproductions of photographs and engravings, the fascinating volume covers a lot of history in a short space. Conkling uses the tools of a novelist to immerse readers in Emily’s experiences. A fine and harrowing true story.” — Kirkus

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson (Simon Pulse)

“In this haunting tale of grief and recovery, 17-year-old Andrew Brawley lives like a ghost in the sprawling wings of Roanoke General Hospital, working in the cafeteria, visiting patients, and borrowing what he needs to get by. When he’s not trying to play matchmaker for his friends Lexi and Trevor—both battling cancer—he’s talking to nurses or working on his comic, Patient F, all while avoiding the tragic circumstances that took his family and left him behind. When Rusty, a boy badly burned by homophobic bullies, enters the hospital, Drew finds the courage to reach out, find love, and confront his deep-rooted guilt and confusion.” — Publishers Weekly

The Prey by Tom Isbell (HarperTeen)

“Teens uncover their post-apocalyptic, dystopian society’s secret program that segregates those deemed inferior to use as game in rich men’s hunts. An orphan nicknamed Book who’s grown up in an all-boys government-run camp discovers a strange new boy, near death, in the desert. Book befriends him and learns that after the boys graduate, they aren’t bussed away for leadership positions as promised—instead, they’re hunted by the rich as entertainment. Turns out they’re scapegoated Less Thans—a designation given to undesirable races, religious groups, political dissidents and a variety of other discriminatory categories.” — Kirkus

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley] (Dial)

“In 1965, Lynda Blackmon Lowery turned 15 during the three-day voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery. In this vibrant memoir, Lowery’s conversational voice effectively relates her experiences in the civil rights movement on and before that march. The youngest person on the march, she’d already been jailed nine times as a protester. … Vivid details and the immediacy of Lowery’s voice make this a valuable primary document as well as a pleasure to read.” — Kirkus, starred review

X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon (Candlewick)

“This fictionalized account of the boy who became Malcolm X maintains a suspenseful, poetic grip as it shifts among moments in his life between the years 1930 and 1948. … Shabazz (Growing Up X), one of Malcolm X’s daughters, and Magoon (How It Went Down) capture Malcolm’s passion for new experiences, the defeatism that plagued him, and the long-buried hope that eventually reclaimed him.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum)

“With his mother newly dead, a job in a funeral home somehow becomes the perfect way for Matthew to deal with his crushing grief. … Reynolds writes with a gritty realism that beautifully captures the challenges—and rewards—of growing up in the inner city. A vivid, satisfying and ultimately upbeat tale of grief, redemption and grace.” — Kirkus

The Way We Bared Our Souls by Willa Strayhorn (Razorbill)

Book Description: If you had the chance to shed your biggest burden and trade it for someone else’s, would you do it?

When a mysterious young shaman tells Lo he knows an ancient ritual that will free her from the pain of her newly discovered illness, she’s just desperate enough to believe him. The catch? The ritual only works with five people. Now Lo must persuade four of her most troubled friends to make the biggest sacrifice of their lives.

There’s Thomas, a former child soldier; Kaya, a Native American girl who can’t feel pain; Ellen, a cheerleader with a meth addiction; and Zeke, the skateboarding star whose girlfriend’s sudden death has made him afraid to live. On the night of the ceremony, this unlikely group gathers around a fire deep in the New Mexico desert to share sorrows and swap totems. When the effects take hold the next morning, they embark on a week of terrifying, beautiful experiences that no one, not even Lo, could have imagined.

Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go by Laura Rose Wagner (Amulet Books)

“In this formidable first novel, 15-year-old narrator Magdalie loses everything after the Haitian earthquake of 2010 and is forced to rebuild along with her country. … Wagner’s portrait of Haitian culture is particularly compelling, and her descriptions of the settings of the city and Tonton Élie’s country hometown are lush.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

X: A Conversation

Ilyasah Shabazz’s X: A Novel, written with Kekla Magoon, is the story of young Malcolm X. Before he became the legendary leader the world remembers, Malcolm was a young teen trying to find his way.

 By Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon

x-bookcoverWhat it is like to work on a book project collaboratively? A collaboration starts as a conversation. One that might go a little something like this…

ILYASAH: I’ve always thought of this book as telling the story of my father before becoming Malcolm X — about his foundation, who he was at his core and the challenges he faced like any other young person depending on their circumstances.

KEKLA: Malcolm, before the X.

ILYASAH: Right. The struggles that he went through as a young man, which parallel the struggles many young people experience and the journey he went through to overcome them. My father was an exceptionally introspective and brilliant man, which helped him rise above his circumstances. He deeply believed that everyone has great potential, and the capability to do whatever one chooses. He spent his life learning, sharing, teaching, and motivating other people.

KEKLA: We tend to remember Malcolm as an adult, for his speeches and his leadership. But you wanted people to understand the depth of where his passion for social justice really came from.

ILYASAH: I thought it was important to showcase who Malcolm was, starting from his roots. All of us start off as an innocent child influenced by the adults around us.

KEKLA: His parents were activists. He had that legacy within his family, but he was pulled from them by the forces of the world. His father was murdered, and his mother was institutionalized, essentially, for being a proud black woman who confronted authority.

ILYASAH: When my father’s parents were no longer in his life, he struggled. But he was able to find his own individual power. I want teens to understand that if they find obstacles in their path, they must persevere through them much like our ancestors, upon whose shoulders we all stand today. Which, again, speaks to the importance of history — knowing what we can and must accomplish. They should listen to the little voice inside that encourages them to keep going.

KEKLA: Malcolm spent his teen years running from that history, but he eventually found his way back. He finally became the person he was raised to be. This book explores the time during which he was running, and it’s such a crucial piece of his story.

ILYASAH: People tend to gloss over it. They like to say he “miraculously” transformed while he was in prison. Rather, he regained a conscious connection to the strong foundation provided by his parents. A lot of emotion, pain, education, and effort went into that transformation, and it was really a return to being the person he was always supposed to be. The person he was at his core, and would have always been, had not he met the man-made challenges experienced in his youth after the assassination of his dad, the institutionalizations of his mom, and separation from his siblings.

KEKLA: For me, it was really fascinating to spend time with the individual behind the legacy. Before working on X with you, I reread The Autobiography of Malcolm X and your own autobiography (Growing Up X), and some other titles you recommended to me. Personally, I would consider it a process of doing research about Malcolm, but for you, I know that “research” isn’t exactly the right word. You have a much deeper connection.

ILYASAH: This story has been inside of me for such a long time, and I’m so honored to have had the privilege to work with you on it. This book came from the stories shared by my mother throughout my childhood, and information I collected from my aunts and uncles.I spoke to a lot of people who worked with my father. Listening to the impact that he left on so many people was overwhelming, emotional, and very informative.

KEKLA: It’s such a huge and personal thing, learning about your father. It’s inspiring to me that you are able to put so much energy into sharing Malcolm’s story with others.

ILYASAH: Most people don’t understand who Malcolm really was. As one of his six daughters, it is important to me to continue working to keep his true message alive in the world.

KEKLA: I’ve heard you talk about that a lot, for you and your sisters — the honor and the privilege and the challenge of carrying your father’s legacy forward. You’ve spoken, written and taught about him all your life.

ILYASAH:  My father’s life served as a source of inspiration. Most people don’t realize he was so young. When the world first heard of him he was only in his 20s, which is remarkable. He was only 39 when he was assassinated. He accomplished so much in such a short life. I thought 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.


x-IlyasahShabazz175Ilyasah 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.

x-Kekla_Magoon175Kekla Magoon is an award-winning author of many young adult novels, including The Rock and the River, for which she received the 2010 Coretta Scott King–John Steptoe Award for New Talent. Kekla Magoon lives in New York City.