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Betty Before X



by
Ilyasah Shabazz ,Renée Watson

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Macmillan
Imprint
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
ISBN
9780374306106

Awards and Honors
CCBC Choices 2019 Choice: Fiction for Children
CSMCL Best Books - 2018
Kirkus Best Books, Middle-Grade - 2018
NYPL Best Books for Kids - 2018
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Reference/Discussion, Violence: Mild Violence, Violence: Mild Violence, Violence: Strong Violence, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism
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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. Photograph of Betty Shabazz. Author’s note. Note about Detroit in the 1940s. Note about Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Information about the main characters in the book. Time line.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Reference/Discussion, Violence: Mild Violence, Violence: Mild Violence, Violence: Strong Violence, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

256

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

4.9: points 5

Lexile

810L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

9

JLG Release

May 2018

Book Genres


Topics

Betty Shabazz (1934–1997). Childhood and youth. Family life. Detroit, Michigan. Civil rights movements. Racism. African Americans. Stepfamilies. Twentieth-century US history.

Standard MARC Records

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*, The Horn Book Magazine

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
This novel centering the girl who would become the wife of Malcolm X and accomplish much on her own after his assassination reminds readers that even legendary figures are real people. Betty Dean Sanders was born in 1934 in Pinehurst, GA. At barely a year old, she was taken from her mother, Ollie Mae, because there was evidence of abuse. She lived with her grandmother and aunt until she was seven. When Aunt Fannie Mae died, Betty was sent to Detroit to live again with Ollie Mae. The mother-daughter relationship was never comfortable, and when there was more abuse, Betty was taken in, at the age of 11, by Lorenzo and Helen Malloy, who raised her until she left for college. The authors highlight Betty’s personal trials and those of the civil rights struggle. Emotional but not melodramatic, the facts and events speak for themselves. Readers will acutely feel the confusion and pain Betty experiences with her mother, her anger at the treatment of African Americans, and the hopefulness instilled by Helen Malloy and her Housewives’ League as they boycott businesses which will not hire blacks. There is also the warmth of Betty’s community, the love of her sisters, the peace she finds in her faith, and the joy of her accomplishments. VERDICT An excellent work of historical fiction that will illuminate and spark discussion. Pair this with Shabazz’s X: A Novel for a well-rounded picture of the couple and their times.—Katherine Koenig, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Horn Book

Long before she was the wife of Malcolm X, Betty Shabazz was a strong girl growing up in 1940s Detroit within a solid churchgoing community engaged in the fight for racial equality; a childless couple from this community raised Betty when her own mother was unable. Having co-written her mother’s (fictionalized) story, Ilyasah Shabazz narrates the audio version, adjusting her voice to mimic youthful delight about candy and jazz music and readjusting it to capture Betty’s solemnity when faced with injustice. Betty’s busy social life and faithful churchgoing mean that narrator Shabazz must sing “Happy Birthday” as a child and “Amazing Grace” in the voice of Paul Robeson, who was a visitor to Betty’s community. Shabazz does neither song a disservice. -Nell Beram, Horn Book

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
This novel centering the girl who would become the wife of Malcolm X and accomplish much on her own after his assassination reminds readers that even legendary figures are real people. Betty Dean Sanders was born in 1934 in Pinehurst, GA. At barely a year old, she was taken from her mother, Ollie Mae, because there was evidence of abuse. She lived with her grandmother and aunt until she was seven. When Aunt Fannie Mae died, Betty was sent to Detroit to live again with Ollie Mae. The mother-daughter relationship was never comfortable, and when there was more abuse, Betty was taken in, at the age of 11, by Lorenzo and Helen Malloy, who raised her until she left for college. The authors highlight Betty’s personal trials and those of the civil rights struggle. Emotional but not melodramatic, the facts and events speak for themselves. Readers will acutely feel the confusion and pain Betty experiences with her mother, her anger at the treatment of African Americans, and the hopefulness instilled by Helen Malloy and her Housewives’ League as they boycott businesses which will not hire blacks. There is also the warmth of Betty’s community, the love of her sisters, the peace she finds in her faith, and the joy of her accomplishments. VERDICT An excellent work of historical fiction that will illuminate and spark discussion. Pair this with Shabazz’s X: A Novel for a well-rounded picture of the couple and their times.—Katherine Koenig, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Horn Book

Long before she was the wife of Malcolm X, Betty Shabazz was a strong girl growing up in 1940s Detroit within a solid churchgoing community engaged in the fight for racial equality; a childless couple from this community raised Betty when her own mother was unable. Having co-written her mother’s (fictionalized) story, Ilyasah Shabazz narrates the audio version, adjusting her voice to mimic youthful delight about candy and jazz music and readjusting it to capture Betty’s solemnity when faced with injustice. Betty’s busy social life and faithful churchgoing mean that narrator Shabazz must sing “Happy Birthday” as a child and “Amazing Grace” in the voice of Paul Robeson, who was a visitor to Betty’s community. Shabazz does neither song a disservice. -Nell Beram, Horn Book

Grades 5-8
Realistic Fiction Middle Plus
For Grades 5-8

Stories with strong, relatable characters that portray believable contemporary or historical real-life experiences.

14 books per Year
$235.90 per Year
Interests
Chapter Books/Novels,Diversity,Fiction,History,Realistic Fiction
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Grades 5-8
Realistic Fiction Middle Plus
14 books per Year
$235.90 per Year

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