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For Black Girls Like Me

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,255 ratings  ·  305 reviews
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
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  1,255 ratings  ·  305 reviews

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Aug 18, 2019 added it
This was... a lot. Trigger warning for attempted suicide.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that will remain in my heart for a long, long time. Beautifully written, in a variety of formats, BLACK GIRLS LIKE ME, is the story of Keda, an 11-year old African American girl adopted as a baby, by a white family. However, this story not only tackles the feelings Keda has a black girl growing up in a white family, it also addresses racism, mental illness, friendship and family bonds. This story had so many rich layers to it, and although it was heartbreaking at times, it was pow ...more
Mary Lee
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adoption
There's lots to appreciate and learn from in this book, around race, racism, microaggressions, and mixed-race families (including the loneliness of a black child in a white family). There's also a brutal lot about life with an undiagnosed bipolar mother. My stars aren't really for how much I "liked" the book, they are for the importance of the book. It's not for every reader, but for the ones who need it, wow. It will mean the world. ...more
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
First thought: why doesn’t this book use commas? This is going to be annoying.

Second thought: this is a great story on identity struggles, one that’s probably not often addressed in youth lit.

Third thought: wait, now it’s about mental illness, too? Impactful, even if it does seem to divert attention from its initial major “conflict.” But accurate in illustrating that people can have more than one major conflict in life.

Fourth thought: stayed up too late on a school night finishing.
Laura Gardner
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to author Mariama J. Lockington (@forblackgirlslikeme) and @macmillankidsbooks for a free copy of this STUNNING book to share with @kidlitexchange. I will be mailing this to @akossket right away and then it will be shared w/#kidlitexchange. This book isn't out until July 30, but please put it on all your summer pre-orders now. It's perfect for grades 4 - 8 and belongs in each and every elementary and middle school library in America.
5/5 big GUSHING stars for this beautifully written de
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: colorinyamg, all-mg
@Kidlitexchange #partner - I received a copy of this book from the Kidlitexchange network in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Releasing 7/30/19

Keda is a Black eleven-year-old girl with a white adoptive family. When her family moves to a different state Keda gets separated from her best friend, the only other Black girl with a white adoptive family she knows. Now she has to dig deep (into her beliefs and emotions) to face the world with the type of ugliness only she experien
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

Makeda, the Black adopted daughter of whites parents and a sister Eve, feels out of place in her family. When they move to New Mexico, her blackness becomes more of an issue as does her mom’s mental illness.

FOR BLACK GIRLS LIKE ME is an important story that is watered down by trying to address too much for the target audiences. Keda is eleven, so most readers will be eleven and younger. Mariama Lockington deals with the subtle and not-so-subtle Keda experiences, as an adoptee and as a B
Pernille Ripp
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is in my top 3 of best books read this year hands down.
Emily Waller
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This story is powerful from a perspective I have not read before. Keda is Black, her family is white. As a white reader, it was important for me to read the ways Keda's family failed her by speaking for her or assuming they knew what she was feeling. The best intentions can be hurtful, and I think this book is a great opportunity to open conversations about that with young adults. Superbly written. Highly recommend!

Keda is adopted. Her mom, dad, and sister are white, and she is Black. She w
Carol Baldwin

Using free verse poetry and poetic prose, the novel provides powerful insight into eleven-year-old Makeda June Kirkland's reality. Readers are immersed into the life of a girl whose hippie mother named her after an Ethiopian girl who died in a famine. Makeda's response: "I like Keda for short. I am not a dead girl." (p. 8)

The book opens with Keda, her older sister Eve, and her used-to-be-concert-violinist mother driving across country to New Mexico to meet their father who has taken a job as the
Richelle Robinson
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
“I received a review copy from Amazon Vine and voluntarily provided an honest review. This does not affect the opinion of the book or the content of the review.”

This is a very important coming of age story that will stay with me for a long time.

This story is about Makeda aka Keda who is black, 11 years old and adopted. Her adoptive family is white. This story touches on Keda trying to find her identity, her struggles to fit in and her longing to know about her birth mother. My heart broke for K
Ashleigh Rose
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars :)
Tori Glass
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is easily in my top 5 of 2019!
Makeda is an 11 year old girl who has always wondered how she fits into her family. Being adopted and black when the rest of her family is white, she often struggles to find her place. When Makeda’s family moves away from her only friend who completely understands her, Makeda feels like her world is crumbling. This coming of age story follows Makeda as she faces discrimination, making new friends (and keeping up with old ones), and finding herself and her
Danielle Stinson
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I finished it with tears in my eyes and hope in my heart.

Lockington's writing is gorgeous. There were so many moments of beautiful imagery. Countless lines I stopped to read twice. The poetry in the book is lovely, and the letters between Keda and her best friend were one of my favorite parts. They were vibrant with humor and truth and a love you could feel.

Keda's voice sings through these pages. It drew me in from the first line and wrapped me up
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh boy did I love this book!!!

Reason 1: I have students that will see so many mirrors of their own lives in Keda’s life in their own (black, smart, adopted, parents that don’t look like her, mental illness in the family, love of music/singing, being the new kid, being called an offensive name...)

Reason 2: I loved the mix of chapters written in prose with chapters written in verse or song lyrics. Although I do enjoy novels written entirely in verse, I feel like they often tend to fall flat when
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely gorgeous. Five stars on the writing alone. So many touching, lovely images throughout, and the voice just hums with unique sentence structure and stylistic choices that show the reader so clearly who Keda is and who she wants to become. Such a lovable character! On top of all this, poems sprinkled throughout point to Keda's struggle as an adopted black girl in a white family, while that family threatens to combust with struggles of its own due to the adoptive mother's men ...more
Mariama J.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm biased because I wrote this book, but it's the book of my heart and I worked hard on it. I hope that it sparks conversation and provides a mirror to someone who needs it. Thanks for reading it and for considering Keda's adoptee story. I appreciate you! ...more
Karen McKenna
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A heartbreaking, beautiful book about family, identity, and the messiness of being a human.

The story follows Makeda (Keda for short) through a move across the country with her family. While her older sister is outgrowing childhood and leaving Keda behind, Keda wrestles with being all alone in a new school where she experiences microaggressions and overt racism. To add to the loneliness, her father is busy with a new job, and her mother is slipping into a depression. Keda was adopted as a baby, a
Valyncia Raphael
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I dare you to read this book and not have it change your life. This book moves you and gives you an insider perspective of the weight little black girls carry when they come of age in a white hippie family in the U.S. This book illuminates the intricacies of growing pains and love in contexts of family and friendship. As the character moves cross-country and spends the year adjusting, we are along for the ride to see what the transition is like at school and home with an physically absent (due t ...more
Haley Radke
I loved this book. It is a unique look through a transracial adoptee's eyes at living in a white family. I learned so much about microaggressions and subtle ways adoptees are 'othered'. I appreciated the lyrical details and style. The letters, the songs, the dreams, the blog, all of it is carefully woven together seamlessly. I've read it twice now and enjoyed it even more on re-read. Mariama is a fabulous author and one to watch.

*Spoilers to come:
Some challenging topics (mental illness and a su
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway-reads
This was a giveaway win and man was I excited to read it. I loved this. Highly recommend if you enjoy middle grade books!
Sam Bloom
Struggled between 3.5 and 4, but rounded up because this is the second book, for young people, that I’m aware of dealing with transracial adoption written by a woman of color who was herself a transracial adoptee. Yes, that’s a mouthful, but it’s also a BIG FUCKING DEAL. And seriously... 2. 2 books that fit this description in existence (that I am aware of, at least)
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book and I think the title was very apt-this book is for black girls like Keda. I very much appreciate that this book exists for black girls who have been adopted by white patents; for black girls that are the only black girl in their school; and for black girls that are homeschooled. This book was pretty sad, but it also held beautiful moments of pure joy that only middle schoolers can feel, and that’s super important. The friendship Keda had in the book was true to friendsh ...more
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard walking in Makeda’s shoes. The body that occupies those shoes, misses her best friend that she had to leave behind, when she moved with her family this summer. That same body, is stared at and harassed by her peers when she begins 6th grade at her new school. That same body, feels that no one understands exactly what she goes through, not her mother nor her sister, even though they think they do. That same body, doesn’t know who she is or where she belongs. The battles that Makeda face ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book. I loved the point of view of the main character, Makeda. Keda (as she likes to be called) is a 6th grade Black girl whose adopted (white) family has just moved to New Mexico from Baltimore. It’s hard to move across the country and switch schools in the middle of the year, especially when classmates are unkind and racist. Keda struggles to find friends and tension mounts as her dad leaves to tour with the symphony and her mother’s mental health deteriorates.

This book w
Lauren Manning
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've been pushing myself to read books about characters that are different than me, and this is one book that nailed it with important topics of society today. It is important for me to read from the perspectives of different characters than what I am used to, and Keda's voice in this book did exactly that. Written from the perspective of a black, adopted young girl who is trying to figure out who she is was a great read for me and will be for others, whether it is a mirror or a window book for ...more
Franki Sibberson
There are very few books about adoption that deal with race and the issues around interracial adoption, especially for middle graders when often the issues become so complex. I thought this was a good book sharing some of the issues a black child faces as part of a white family. There is a huge thread about the mother's depression/undiagnosed bipolar and I thought it was a lot--the adoption/race issues as well as the depression/parenting issue. But it was done well and I think it is an important ...more
What a beautiful story about family, belonging, and self-discovery. Here are some things I loved: short chapters. My MG students do so well with short chapters (and so do I!)
Wide-range of tough topics. Realistic characters who make mistakes and are human. Then, they grow. Finally, Keda. I loved her so much.

I received this book as part of the #LitReviewCrew in exchange for an honest review.
Joshunda Sanders
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a really special, beautiful middle grade book that touches on so many things young adoptees face across racial lines, mental health & the delicate beauty of becoming a young woman when you are a sweet little girl with an old soul. The cover is exquisite and it absolutely conveys the wonder and amazement that awaits readers inside the book.
This started off as one thing but ended as another. I thought it was going to be about a girl’s search for identity, which it sort of was, but it wound up being more about her mentally ill mother. It was too disjointed, the author should have stuck to one theme. Plus, and l know this is petty, but the lack of comma use drove me straight up bonkers.
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Mariama J. Lockington is an adoptee, writer, and nonprofit educator. She has been telling stories and making her own books since the second grade, when she wore short-alls and flower leggings every day to school. Her work has appeared in a number of magazines and journals, including Buzzfeed News Reader, and she is the author of the poetry chapbook The Lucky Daughter. Mariama holds a Masters in Ed ...more

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Dhonielle Clayton is a YA author, a 2018 Goodreads Choice Award nominee, and the chief operating officer of We Need Diverse Books, a...
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