Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Betty Before X

Betty Before X

Ilyasah Shabazz, with Renee Watson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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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. The singing, the preaching, the speeches from guest activists like Paul Robeson and Thurgood Marshall stir African Americans in her community to stand up for their rights. Betty quickly finds confidence and purpose in volunteering for the Housewives League, an organization that supports black-owned businesses. Soon, the American civil rights icon we now know as Dr. Betty Shabazz is born.

Collaborating with novelist Renée Watson, Ilyasah Shabazz illuminates four poignant years in her mother’s childhood, painting a beautiful and inspiring portrait of a girl overcoming the challenges of self-acceptance and belonging that will resonate with young readers today.

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About the author

Ilyasah Shabazz, with Renee Watson

Ilyasah Shabazz, third daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz, is an educator, activist, motivational speaker, and author of multiple award-winning publications, including X: A Novel. She is also an active advocacy worker and an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

Renée Watson is the author of This Side of Home, which was nominated for the Best Fiction for Young Adults by the American Library Association. Her picture book Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills received several honors including an NAACP Image Award nomination in children’s literature. She is also the founder of the I, Too Arts Collective and currently teaches courses on writing for children at University of New Haven and Pine Manor College.

Ilyasah Shabazz

Renée Watson

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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