A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Presents information about socioeconomic differences and the dynamics between friends and families. Uses and translates some Spanish words and phrases. Some information about important figures in art and history.
Speak up for yourself, don't give up on people when they disappoint you, know your worth, friends and family are very valuable, mentorship is a two-way street. Problems arise when people offer seemingly positive messages in a routine way without thought.
Positive Role Models
Jade is a strong role model who helps other students, works hard in school, is creative with her art, and stays true to herself. Her mother, her father, her mentor, Maxine, and her friend Lee Lee are positive role models, too, but none is presented as perfect, which makes them believable and engaging.
Violence & Scariness
Mention of police brutality and its victims, including references to Michael Brown, Emmett Till, and Sandra Bland. Mention of an incident in which a young girl was assaulted by the police and sustained horrific injuries, but the incident is not shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A girl refers to her mother giving birth to her at 16. There's advice on waiting to start serious relationships and have sex. A reference to the play The Vagina Monologues, which is not described in great detail but it's mentioned that the subject matter includes sex, rape, first menstruation.
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Products & Purchases
Very few references to specific brands, used to denote socioeconomic differences or set a scene. Brands mentioned include Nike, Jolly Rancher, and Dairy Queen.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol and talk about cocktail parties. An adult is shown being drunk and aggressive toward a young girl on the street. Mention that a man is being fired because he's high.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Renée Watson's Piecing Me Together won the 2018 Coretta Scott King Author Award and was named a 2018 Newbery Honor Book. It's the story of a 16-year-old high-achieving African American high school student on scholarship at an exclusive, mostly white Portland, Oregon, private school, who gets help from a mentor and defies stereotypes. The novel deals with issues of identity, self-image, race and gender bias, privilege, and the power of art. Parents should be prepared to answer questions about police brutality, socioeconomic differences, stereotypes, and learning about yourself.
Is It Any Good?
Readers will fall in love with real, poignant, and lovely Jade the moment they step into her brilliant, colorful mind, seeing the world as she does in all its beauty and contradictions. Piecing Me Together is so layered and beautifully put together, the fully fleshed-out characters come alive and become our friends, sisters, and mentors. Author Renee Watson makes the case for seeing African American girls and women as they are, not as the stereotypes foisted on them.
There's a humanity that author Renée Watson touches on that makes the story, situations, and characters relatable while giving a megaphone to voices that are traditionally silenced. This is a must-read not only for girls but also for parents and educators of both genders.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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Our Editors Recommend
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