Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz, with Renee Watson

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By Ilyasah Shabazz with Renee Watson, Square Fish Books, Paperback, 256 pages

A powerful middle-grade novel about the childhood activism of Betty Shabazz, Malcolm X’s wife, written by their daughter.

In Detroit, 1945, eleven-year-old Betty’s house doesn’t quite feel like home. She believes her mother loves her, but she can’t shake the feeling that her mother doesn’t want her. Church helps those worries fade, if only for a little while. Activists like Paul Robeson stir African Americans in her community to stand up for their rights. Betty finds purpose in volunteering for the Housewives League, which supports black-owned businesses. Soon, the American civil rights icon we now know as Dr. Betty Shabazz is born.

Inspired by Betty's real life – but expanded upon and fictionalized in collaboration with novelist Renée Watson – Ilyasah Shabazz illuminates four years in her mother’s childhood with this book, painting an inspiring portrait of a girl grappling with self-acceptance and belonging that will resonate with young readers today.

Suitable for children aged 10 – 14.

About the authors:

Ilyasah Shabazz is an award-winning American author, speaker and educator. She has spoken to audiences around the world spreading the legacy of her father Malcolm X and mother Betty Shabazz. She promotes higher education for at-risk youth, interfaith dialogue to build bridges between cultures for young leaders of the world, and she participates in international humanitarian delegations. 

Renee Watson is a New York Times bestselling author, educator and community activist.

Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz, with Renee Watson
Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz, with Renee Watson
Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz, with Renee Watson
Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz, with Renee Watson