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Jade lives in the “bad” part of town. Her dark skin, curvy body, and unruly hair make it easy for people to assume that they know all about her – and she is so tired of fighting the stereotypes. Even the people trying to help make her constantly aware of how broken she seems, always providing her with great “opportunities” and nominating her for programs to make her better, different, to get her out. Jade summarizes it beautifully in one heart wrenching quote – “Why am I only seen as someone who needs and not someone who can give?” Piecing Me Together had a visceral effect on me. I read the book in the midst of several difficult conversations about implicit bias; by the end it felt like my entire career, based on providing opportunities and experiences to students that seemed as though they needed or wanted them, had been wrong. After some reflection, I see now that the truth is somewhere in between what I’ve lived and what Jade writes – that I have done more good than harm, but that as an educator I need to be more mindful with my “help” and my intentions. Piecing Me Together is about finding yourself, finding your voice, and learning to be okay with all of the different pieces that make up a complicated and beautiful human life in any color. The book has nothing inappropriate to restrict age, but many of the weighty issues will be lost on younger readers (I would probably recommend to mature 4th graders and up). I highly recommend this book not only to students, but also to teachers hoping to better understand the students that they love and have dedicated their lives to serving. #stabsummerreading
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