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Publisher's Summary

Activist, motivational speaker, and daughter of Malcolm X Ilyasah Shabazz celebrates her mother's idealism and strength of character in a touching new YA audiobook. Betty Before X is the story of Dr. Betty Shabazz before she became a figurehead for the Civil Rights Movement.

In Detroit, 1945, 11-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.Inspired by Betty's real life - but expanded upon and fictionalized through collaboration with novelist Renée Watson - Ilyasah Shabazz illuminates four poignant years in her mother's childhood with this audiobook, painting an inspiring portrait of a girl overcoming the challenges of self-acceptance and belonging that will resonate with young listeners today.

©2018 Ilyasah Shabazz (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"In clear, measured tones, the author recounts Betty's discomfort with her home life and her work with the Housewives League...Shabazz differentiates between Betty and her mother, Ollie Mae Sanders, through pitch and projects the latter's frequent annoyance, showing why Betty often felt underappreciated. An afterword helps young listeners understand Betty Shabazz's importance in American history and provides additional discussion on the other people in the narrative." (AudioFile Magazine)

"...the soul of this book is Betty’s more personal battle to be loved by a mother who rejects her, and the redemption she finds in the home of a couple who takes her in. This universal theme makes the book moving as well as educational, and the reading by Shabazz — not an actress, but an experienced motivational speaker — is clear and sincere." (Providence Journal)

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Uplifting narration

Betty's story gracefully stands on its own, without her famous husband. The author reads her work with an optimistic tone even during tough scenes, which suits the youthful perpective well. The role of the Housewives League in the Civil Rights movement is a particularly welcome focus here.