Mariama J. Lockington is an adoptee, writer, and nonprofit educator. She has been telling stories and making her own books since the second grade, when she wore short-alls and flower leggings every day to school. Her work has appeared in a number of magazines and journals, including Buzzfeed News Reader, and she is the author of the poetry chapbook The Lucky Daughter. Mariama holds a Masters in Education from Lesley University and Masters in Fine Arts in Poetry from San Francisco State University. She lives in Lexington, KY with her partner and dapple haired dachshund, Henry.
Identity is at the heart of these mid grade novels about kids trying to find their place in the world. In Mariama Lockington's For Black Girls Like Me, a young adopted girl wonders what her family would be like if they all looked like her. In Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers by Celia Perez, a group of girls learns that friends can be family no matter what. Ibi Zoboi shares the story of a young girl finding her way in a new place in My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich.
Dr. Gayatri Sethi is an educator and writer who muses about social justice themes. A former professor, she now independently offers workshops, seminars and courses on social justice, anti-racism and decolonizing education. She is of South Asian Indian descent, born in Tanzania and raised in Botswana. Some of her writings on identity and belonging have been published in Brown Girl Magazine and the Aerogramme. She resides in Decatur when she is not traveling globally with her family.
For Black Girls Like Me
I am a girl but most days I feel like a question mark.
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.
In this lyrical coming-of-age story about family, sisterhood, music, race, and identity, Mariama J. Lockington draws on some of the emotional truths from her own experiences growing up with an adoptive white family. For Black Girls Like Me is for anyone who has ever asked themselves: How do you figure out where you are going if you don’t know where you came from?