Piecing Me Together
Written by Renee Watson
Tired of being singled out at her mostly-white private school as someone who needs support, high school junior Jade would rather participate in the school’s amazing Study Abroad program than join Women to Women, a mentorship program for at-risk girls.
Primary Source Pairing:
The world opens a little wider to Jade when Maxine takes her to Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, in Chapter 19. When Jade sees the works of fellow African American collagists Romare Bearden and Mickalene Thomas, her artist’s mind and heart are inspired and transformed. Jade uses her art as a way to communicate her feelings, hopes, and aspirations. Her art combines history with current events and harsh realities with hopeful futures. The show at the gallery marks the beginning for Jade as she embarks on an exploration of self-discovery and possibility. For this primary source pairing, invite students to study the collages created by artists Romare Bearden and Mickalene Thomas as available on the artist’s websites. Encourage students to find connections to Jade’s collages in the book Piecing Me Together and infer where Jade would find inspiration in the artwork created by Romare Bearden and Mickalene Thomas.
Questions for Discussion:
- What do you notice first?
- What people and objects are shown?
- How are they arranged?
- What is the physical setting?
- What’s happening in the image?
- What tools were used to create this?
- How is this collage similar to something you visualize Jade creating? How is it different?
- Make a connection to the collages by Romare Bearden and Mickalene Thomas and the collages Jade creates in the book Piecing Me Together.