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For Black Girls Like Me

by Mariama J. Lockington

Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, 2019
321 pages
ISBN: 978-0-374-30804-9

Ages 9-13

Makeda (Kade), 11, and her family have moved across country to New Mexico for her dad’s musical career. Kade knows the adjustment, as always, will be complicated by questions: She is Black, and the rest of her family is white. Sometimes not even her family understands what she must navigate. “We don’t see color,” says her mother, which just makes Kade angry. When one of the popular girls at her new, private school uses the N-word, the school downplays it, focusing on Kade’s angry response. Their mother pulls both Kade and her older sister, Eve, out of school. Her decision to homeschool them is rash, spur-of-the-moment, but their mom’s been doing that a lot lately, causing tension between their parents. When summer comes and their dad leaves on a 6-week trip, Kade and Eve must deal with their mom’s increasingly erratic behavior on their own. Their mom has big ideas and big plans, until she falls hard. In the aftermath of her attempted suicide, she is diagnosed as bipolar and begins getting treatment. But everyone in their family has healing to do. A story that deftly explores big themes—transracial adoption, mental illness, racism—does so without minimizing any, integrating them into a hopeful, wonderfully realized exploration of a family learning how to talk about all of it. The relationship between Kade and Eve is especially compelling as the novel unfolds. ©2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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