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I am a girl but most days I feel like a question mark.
Makeda June Kirkland is eleven-years-old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda's family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena— the only other adopted black girl she knows— for a new life. In New Mexico, everything is different. At home, Makeda’s sister is too cool to hang out with her anymore and at school, she can’t seem to find one real friend.
Through it all, Makeda can’t help but wonder: What would it feel like to grow up with a family that looks like me?
Through singing, dreaming, and writing secret messages back and forth with Lena, Makeda might just carve a small place for herself in the world.
In this lyrical coming-of-age story about family, sisterhood, music, race, and identity, Mariama J. Lockington draws on some of the emotional truths from her own experiences growing up with an adoptive white family. For Black Girls Like Me is for anyone who has ever asked themselves: How do you figure out where you are going if you don’t know where you came from?
*A Junior Library Guild Selection!*
"For Black Girls Like Me is the book I needed as a young girl. My heart ached for Makeda in the difficult moments and swelled as she slowly learned to use her voice. This is a beautiful, necessary book." —Brandy Colbert, author of Finding Yvonne and Little & Lion
"Lockington's debut is a revelation. Her voice is a much-needed addition in a field that is far too sparse on #ownvoices stories, and this story in particular is one that only lived experience could bring to life. The language is delicious. Keda's story is searing and essential. I can't wait for everyone to read this." —Tracey Baptiste, New York Times bestselling author of The Jumbies series
"I don't think I've ever read a more moving rendering of the complex dynamics of growing up as a young, black transracially adopted woman today. Debut novelist Mariama Lockington, herself a young black transracial adoptee, nails the experience of being 'loved and lonely at the same time.' She somehow manages to do this while exploring family mental illness, sibling relationships, moving schools and geographies, and the messiness of pre-adolescence. This is a gorgeous new voice that we desperately need in this time of overly-simplistic stories of race, family, and childhood in popular culture." —Shannon Gibney, author of the Minnesota Book Award-winning YA novel, See No Color
“Achingly honest, and so well-observed, FOR BLACK GIRLS LIKE ME is like the most haunting blues song: lyrically rendered, heartbreaking, a wail of a novel that will offer young people and adults alike hope in the fact that we are not alone in our pain.” National Book Award Winner of THE POET X, Elizabeth Acevedo