Square Fish Betty Before X
Square Fish Betty Before X

Betty Before X

By Ilyasah Shabazz


Publication Date: December 31, 2018

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Ages 10 to 14


A powerful middle-grade fictionalized account of 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.



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