Piecing Me Together

A Quiltwork of Reflections by Padua Students on Summer Reading

During what has been a tumultuous year for our local and global community, Padua’s Summer Reading Committee began to rethink how this program could contribute to the goal of ensuring our students, faculty and staff are more empathetic to the issues facing our sisters of color and how we can collectively work towards furthering diversity and inclusivity on Broom Street.
In early Spring of 2020, the committee selected “Piecing Me Together,” an award-winning teen novel by Renee Watson. Ms. Watson is a New York Times bestselling author, educator, and activist. Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor.

Piecing Me Together is the story of Jade, a young African American woman who attends private Catholic School on the other side of town, making her question why she’s always being told she needs to leave where she lives.

Jade learns to express sorrow and success throughout her artwork.The following pages of student reflections speak best to the impact this year's summer reading had on our students.

Student Reflections on Summer Reading

I think this book is important for our community now because it really shows the struggles of a young black girl who goes to a school where she is the minority. It brings to light how difficult it is for African-American students to go to schools where we are the minority. It makes people think about their actions and shows that they are willing to listen and learn from our experiences. It also goes to show that there are people out there who have stories that they want share with you. If you don’t want to take the time to sit and listen to them, just like they're taking their time to talk to you and communicate their feelings, then you're never going to grow as a person. And you will continue to lack knowledge from others’ experiences. What matters is that you are willing to take the time to learn opposed to not keeping your mind open to new things. Things take time. You won’t just automatically understand everything right away, it’s meant for you to think about how you would react in similar situations or how you would treat someone in that particular situation. Just keep your minds open to new opinions all the time. And if you cannot do that then maybe you should think about changing your mindset altogether. BE PROACTIVE. LISTEN AND LEARN!

- Kimara McNeil

What I liked most about the book is the theme. It included many themes such as race, privilege and friendship. Renée Watson showed us how race and class can influence and impact on what you get. This book also made me think and read about another person's perspective, Jade. How the problems she was facing in the book are realistic and people face those problems a lot to this day. This book can help our school understand others' perspectives more so we can grow together.

- Audrey Lyons

I think everyone struggles with appearances. In a general perspective, people of color struggle with not being able to be themselves or wear what they want because of fear of their appearance. If people of color act themselves, whether that be quiet or loud, or wear what others wear, whether that be a crop top or sweatpants, the rest of the world often views them in a stereotypical and unfair way. Therefore, people of color are forced into a box to keep who they really are hidden in order to appeal to those around them and ultimately survive. However, there is also a personal perspective to appearances. People of color or minorities in general sometimes stereotype and trap themselves into what others think of them to avoid judgement. However, to stop the perpetual stereotype, those being stereotyped should be confident and comfortable acting themselves, wearing what they like, and viewing themselves as equal to everyone else. I do not think we always have to struggle with appearances. Others need to become accepting and you have to be confident in who you are and what you want to represent.

- Esosa Ediae

Through Jade we all learn to appreciate others talents and to use them for good. Lastly, we learn that we must use each opportunity given to us even if it is not what we originally had hoped for. Our community could learn many lessons through this book that are relevant to our daily lives.
- Maddie Klapinsky

In real life now, there are a lot of people who are avoiding the “uncomfortable conversations” that really do need to be had. Racism is real. If someone were to get offended by something you didn’t find offensive, it is important to learn how a saying or an action may be offensive to someone else.
- Sydney Williams

Spirituality. Scholarship. Service. Sisterhood.