This book is so good! Mariama J. Lockington does an incredible job of writing about how Makeda takes on everything in her life with courage and creativity. This review is full of spoilers, so if you don’t want to know about the book’s final outcome, you can read my spoiler free review here.
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.
My Rating: 5 stars!
Mariama J. Lockington gives the characters in this story such interesting and diverse personalities! Here are a few of them:
Makeda is such an interesting character, with such a great personality! She is treated very unfairly a lot because she is black, but most of the time, she handles it well, and also in funny ways. On her first day, on of her teachers asks her where she’s from, she responds with here, because she is from the United States. Her teacher says, I mean what country, and she’s like, I’m from America, y’all.
She also goes through a lot! She is bullied at school for being black, so much so that her mom decides to homeschool her and her sister! She is 11 years old, and has been through so much. Makeda is so strong, and so brave!
Eve is Makeda’s older sister, and they sometimes fight, but she really cares about Makeda, and stands up for her. At the end of their first day of school a boy asks if Eve babysits Makeda, and Eve’s like; she’s my sister, we live in the same house; ever heard of that?
When their mom tries to kill herself, and Eve and Lena are alone, Eve handles it very well in the moment. She stays calm, and helps Makeda stay calm. Even though she does have a bit of a temper, and sometimes gets mad, she is overall a really good sister and a really good friend.
(By the way, none of the above references are direct quotes from the book, just my representations of the sisters’ snark)
Lena is also is adopted, is black and has white parents, and she and Makeda are best friends. When Makeda moves away, they still send each other letters and communicate first through the notebook and then through the private blog (I didn’t exactly get how that all worked) which is awesome because its a really cool way to stay in touch with your friend. The whole thing with the notebook was really interesting, and a great addition to the plot. Lena and Makeda are such good friends that they confide in each other about everything, so it actually turns out to be a good thing when her mom reads the notebook that was 100% not intended for her. Lena is such a kind and supportive friend to Makeda, and it makes Makeda’s life so much easier!
This book tells the story of Makeda; how she is bullied because she is black, how she is overall treated differently because she’s black, and how she deals with her mom’s mental illness. There are so many interesting and well thought out aspects of this book’s plot. Mariama J. Lockington tells the story of an adopted black girl in a white family, of a black girl in a mostly white school and community, and of a girl who’s mother tries to commit suicide, and who struggles with mental illness. One of those topics alone would be enough to drive the plot of an amazing novel and story, and together, they are woven into one of the best books I’ve read all year.
Where I got this book/ How I found out about it:
A few months ago I saw an amazing review about it on another blog, Bookish Girl Magic, but I didn’t read it until my mom checked it out from the library, and I am so glad she did, because For Black Girls Like Me is now one of my favorite books!
Overall, this book is an incredible book that tells the story of a black girl in a white family, of a black girl in a mostly white community, and of a girl who’s mother struggles with mental illness. Makeda is an incredible girl, and is so lucky to have a friend like Lena and a sister like Eve. Middle schoolers, high schoolers, and adults alike with enjoy and benefit from reading For Black Girls Like Me.
What do you think about this book? Have you read For Black Girls Like Me? Do you agree with any of the points I’ve made? Chat with me in the comments below!