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.
Renée shares some thoughts and photography about the neighborhood she calls home.
Gentrification seems like a tough topic for kids. Renee Watson’s book for young adults “This Side of Home” doesn’t shy away from the issue. Oregon Public Broadcasting's John Sepulvado speaks with Renée at the Wordstock book festival.
Founded by Renée Watson, I, Too Arts Collective is a non-profit organization committed to nurturing voices from underrepresented communities in the creative arts.
In July 2016 we launched a campaign to lease the Harlem brownstone where Langston Hughes lived and created during the last twenty years of his life.
Our hope is to preserve Langston’s legacy and build on it by providing programming for emerging writers. We signed the lease in August 2016 and will run our programs out of the brownstone which is located at 20 East 127th Street.
Learn more and show your support at www.itooarts.com.
Renée Watson discusses taking herself seriously as a writer from a young age, creative therapy for young people, and finding people who are about something.
Renée Watson and fellow author Tracey Baptiste discuss the importance of seeing yourself reflected in literature.