Parents and teens, read together this summer!
My idea for this summer’s book recommendation was to find a title that parents and teens can read at the same time and discuss along the way. Young adult novel and Newbery Honor recipient Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson was just what I had in mind.
The book is set in the best-selling author’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, and is told first-person by Jade, one of the few Black students at the private high school she attends on full scholarship. Jade takes a city bus to school each day from her underserved neighborhood, where she lives with her overworked and underpaid mother and her uncle. We watch as Jade grapples with the stark differences between her home life and her school life, all the while trying to break free from the limitations that society has placed on her.
As the novel progresses, Jade navigates the complexities of race, class, and privilege while striving to find her own voice and define her path. Her relatability and authenticity will have you rooting for her from the start, and the book’s supporting characters highlight the author’s rich and thoughtful exploration of friendship and mentorship.
There are plenty of themes to discuss with your teen, even aside from the obvious ones: self-discovery, opportunity, dignity, and friendship, to name a few, and it will encourage them to challenge societal norms, embrace their own uniqueness, and stand up for what they believe in.