For Black Girls Like Me

Farrar. Jul. 2019. 336p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374308049.
Gr 3-7–Makeda loves her parents and sister, but that doesn’t make her feel any less different. A 12-year old transracial adoptee, Keda is all too familiar with the confused stares and intrusive questions of people who don’t understand a Black girl with a white family. Her dad’s new job takes them from Baltimore to Albuquerque, NM, bringing with it a new school with new kids and leaving behind Lena, Keda’s best friend and fellow transracial adoptee who understands her struggles. Keda’s sister Elle seems to be more into boys and magazines than spending time with her nowadays, and mom is acting more unpredictable than ever, sleeping all day or shredding her sheet music from her bygone violinist career. When a family tragedy shakes up her whole life, Makeda discovers a well of strength from which she must draw every ounce. Lockington’s middle grade debut is a gorgeous, tender depiction of a young Black girl seeking the space to thrive. The abundant microaggressions and overt racism Keda faces from her classmates, teachers, and even her parents sting in their authenticity. The depiction of a parent’s suicide attempt is not graphic, but may benefit from being discussed with a trusted adult. The narrative is interspersed with poetic, dreamy ruminations on Keda’s place in the world and the lineage that has seemed lost to her for so long. The versatility of its style and structure means this novel could be used in many group discussions centering topics from transracial adoption to genre-blending literature.
VERDICT An essential purchase for all collections

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