KBKL Spotlight On This Is Our Rainbow: Mariama J. Lockington

It’s Spotlight Time!

All month long we’re going to be chatting with a few of the awesome authors
behind the middle grade anthology:


A boyband fandom becomes a conduit to coming out. A former bully becomes a first-kiss prospect. One nonbinary kid searches for an inclusive athletic community after quitting gymnastics. Another nonbinary kid, who happens to be a pirate, makes a wish that comes true–but not how they thought it would. A tween girl navigates a crush on her friend’s mom. A young witch turns herself into a puppy to win over a new neighbor. A trans girl empowers her online bestie to come out.

From wind-breathing dragons to first crushes, This Is Our Rainbow features story after story of joyful, proud LGBTQIA+ representation. You will fall in love with this insightful, poignant anthology of queer fantasy, historical, and contemporary stories from authors including: Eric Bell, Lisa Jenn Bigelow, Ashley Herring Blake, Lisa Bunker, Alex Gino, Justina Ireland, Shing Yin Khor, Katherine Locke, Mariama J. Lockington, Nicole Melleby, Marieke Nijkamp, Claribel A. Ortega, Mark Oshiro, Molly Knox Ostertag, Aisa Salazar, and AJ Sass.

Today we’re chatting with one of the contributing authors, Mariama J. Lockington!

This is Mariama. Everyone say, “Hi, Mariama!”

Welcome to Kick-butt Kidlit, Mariama! Tell us about yourself!

Hi! I’m Mariama. I’ve been creating my own stories and books since I was in 2nd grade, and I grew up in a very musical family. I write books about the messiness/joys of growing up and what it means to find a place to belong. My debut novel For Black Girls Like Me (FSG BYR July 2019) is a story inspired by own experiences growing up as a Black girl adopted into a white family, and my second book In The Key Us (FSG BYR April 26, 2022) is about two queer, Black girls who meet at a music camp and fall in love with nature, themselves, and each other. I’ve lived in 7 different states, but currently live in Kentucky with my wife and my dog Henry, in a house full of plants. In my free time I like to box, cook, teach storytelling workshops, and work in my garden.  

What was the inspiration behind your contribution to THIS IS OUR RAINBOW?

My story “Devoyn’s Pod” is about an 8th grade girl named Dev who LOVES all things to do with the ocean and her best friends, Ella and Marcel. It was inspired by my time living in Fort Greene Brooklyn and the trips I would make with my queer friends and family to Riis Beach in Queens. I love the beach, but being on a beach full of other queer people like me felt like a homecoming of sorts. I wanted my character to feel this kind of belonging, as she struggles with an unrequited crush, growing pains, and the dynamics of her best friend group changing one summer. I also wanted to write a story in which a Grandparent is affirming and safe for a young person to be in community with, to remind young people that we— LGBTQIA+ folks— are everywhere and have always been so. This is OUR rainbow, after all. 

What’s your favourite line from your story in THIS IS OUR RAINBOW?

Oh, wow! This is so hard because I loved writing this story, but I would have to go with this one:

In fact, most days when I wake up the first thing I think about is her smile and how when I get close to her my skin feels like it’s glowing, like I’m bioluminescent.

What are you currently reading?

Too many things at once!

Black Boy Joy edited by Kwame Mbalia 

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant 

Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson 

What’s your best piece of kick-butt advice?

  1. Never leave the house without a snack (especially all my fellow hangry peoples).
  2. If you’re a writer, remember that progress outweighs perfection. Get the words on the page by any means necessary, then edit and make it better later.

Need to have both of those on posters for the office!

Thank you so much for joining us, Mariama!

Kick-butt Kidlit friends, make sure you check out THIS IS OUR RAINBOW!
It hits shelves on October 19th!

Cover Art by JesnCin
Cover Design by Sylvia Bi

Add THIS IS OUR RAINBOW on Goodreads!

Connect with Mariama on Twitter, Instagram, or through her website!

Click here to enter to win a copy of THIS IS OUR RAINBOW!
Contest ends Friday, October 29th at 11:59 pm EST

(There will be more opportunities to enter the giveaway with each spotlight post
so keep entering the draw!)

Thanks for reading!
The next KBKL Spotlight on This Is Our Rainbow post features: Alex Gino!

Don’t forget to check out our previous posts featuring:

Lisa Bunker

Ashley Herring Blake

Marieke Nijkamp

Eric Bell

Nicole Melleby

4 thoughts on “KBKL Spotlight On This Is Our Rainbow: Mariama J. Lockington

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