By Mariama J. Lockington
Farrar Straus Giroux Book for Young Readers, 2019, ISBN: 978-0374308049, 336 pages, $16.99
Written by Mariama J. Lockington, a black woman who was adopted by a white family, “For Black Girls Like Me” is an exploration of the struggle many transracial adoptees face as they try to figure out who they are in their family and in the larger community.
Lockington introduces the reader to 11-year-old Mekada Kirkland who is starting a new school year in a new town, struggling to fit into the world around her. Also, the only adopted African American child in her white family, Mekada finds it hard to relate to her family as she grapples with the move and figuring out who she is. An awkward age, Mekada also faces other difficulties in her relationship with her parents and sister and the ongoing mental health issues her mom deals with.
“For Black Girls Like Me” is a great book for tween and teen readers, especially for those who might be working through identity issues. Adoptees will relate to Mekada’s mixed emotions and challenges fitting in at times.
Lockington shares on her website: “I wrote ‘For Black Girls Like Me’ because it’s the book I needed to read when I was growing up, and because there are so many transracial adoptees in the world and we deserve to see our experiences reflected honestly. This book is first and foremost a love letter to adoptees everywhere, but it’s also for anyone who has ever asked themselves: How do I figure out where I’m going, if I don’t know where I came from?”
— Reviewed by Kim Phagan-Hansel