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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers learn about living with a parent who has mental illness as well as about the challenges of transracial adoption.
To find your place in life, know who you love and who loves you.
Positive Role Models
This is the story of a young black girl adopted by a white couple. The family lives in New Mexico, where they encounter Spanish-speaking individuals from Mexico and Central America. Mixed-raced people are also featured. Though racial tensions lead to some mean talk in several interactions, all characters are depicted positively overall.
Violence & Scariness
A mom attempts suicide via alcohol and pills; the sisters find her "bluing" and call 911. Intense scenes of family arguments. On several occasions, kids in school are mean to one another, including girls at school using racial slurs.
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Girls call Keda the "N" word. Keda says mean, bigoted things to Mexican girls.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Keda's mother, Anna, who has bipolar disorder, drinks heavily during an episode of depression and attempts to kill herself using alcohol and prescription pills.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that For Black Girls Like Me, by Mariama Lockington, is about an 11-year-old African American girl adopted by white parents. The family moves from Maryland to New Mexico due to the father's job as a musician. There's a detailed description of the mother's descent into her mental illness, including excessive drinking and use of prescription pills. There are intense family arguments and a suicide attempt. Racial tensions show up as mean and racist talk. The "N" word is used.
Is It Any Good?
This moving novel is a beautiful testament to the power of family, love, and friendship to triumph over hardship. Mariama Lockington's For Black Girls Like Me shows a family in serious crisis who are still able to connect deeply through their love of music and willingness to have uncomfortable conversations. Lockington is a poet, and she displays that gift throughout the book in Keda's poems, lyrics, and dreams of a chorus of women. Occasionally, the author's technique of breaking up sentences like lines of poetry can be distracting.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Books That Feature Characters Living with Mental Illness
Books with Characters Who Are Adopted
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate