Betty Before X

Written by Ilyasah Shabazz and Renée Watson

I am a reader who doesn’t read blurbs or plot reviews. I like to go into a book completely free of opinion. Hence, I didn’t realize while I was reading this that it was a mostly biographical account of the girl who would become the wife of Malcolm X. It is written by her daughter. By the time I got to that information at the end of the book, I had already acknowledged that this was an important story.

Betty is taken away from her mother as a young baby when her grandmother finds a bruise on her neck. Eventually she finds a home with the Malloys in Detroit, near her biological mother and half-sisters. Betty is raised to stand up for her rights against racial prejudice. She becomes involved with the Housewives League, an organization that supports black owned-businesses. I appreciated the insight of why some African Americans might not have wanted to be integrated.

I thought this book was exceptional. I appreciated the historical information and complete biography of Betty at the end of the book. I felt there were parts that were beautifully written. It would be a great read-aloud.

Review by Terrie Bishop, Academy Park Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 4-8

Betty Before X
Written by Ilyasah Shabazz and Renée Watson
Farrar Straus Giroux
248 pages
Release Date: January 2, 2018
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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