The Popularity Papers: The Long-Distance Dispatch Between Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang
What You Need to Know:|
• The Popularity Papers: The Long-Distance Dispatch Between Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang is all about
popularity and friendship. It sounds scary, right? Don't be afraid; it is a good message. Warmth and caring wins out.
• It's howlingly funny.
• I love Lydia and Julie, the main characters. In the first book they are funny and earnest fifth graders. This second
book has them entering the shark infested waters that are sixth grade and middle school.
• This story is also about how you feel when your best friend suddenly moves away.
In the first Popularity Papers, fifth graders, Julie and Lydia, embark on a project they call the Popularity Papers. They are on a quest to study popularity and to be popular themselves. Next year, they would like to start middle school ahead of the curve. This second volume picks up where the first left off, with a twist. As they are about to start middle school, Lydia's mom opts to move Lydia and her family to London for six months! Oh no, Julie and Lydia will be separated and just when they are about to face middle school!
Just like the first book, this story skewers the whole idea of popularity, allowing kids to see the ridiculousness of it all. What author Ignatow has done, in a highly entertaining package, is quite brilliant. The humor is witty and dry and combined with the drawings, truly side-splitting. The difference in this second book is that the girls are a little bit older; they are facing some older girl issues. They also encounter more serious issues such as shoplifting and smoking. Neither girl engages in either activity and frankly they are horrified by both. But I believe these are worth a mention to let you know that your reader will be dealing with them. Also, I think the cover looks a lot more juvenile than the themes actually explored, so just a heads up.
I think Ignatow has created a highly entertaining book that actually will empower readers in their social interactions. By poking fun at the whole clique/popularity idea, she is letting her young readers know it's not the end of the world if you aren't popular. Adolescents are highly charged and highly emotional individuals. I realize that this is not an earth-shattering statement but Ignatow's story lets them look at these highly emotional issues from a lighter side and, in the process, I think she dispels some of the power they hold over the reader.
I enjoyed this book immensely, as did my nine-year-old daughter. Lydia lives with her single mom and Julie lives with her two dads. This just might be worth noting in case either of these two situations affect you and your family.
2011, 208 pages
Friendship, Humor, Journal Style, Self-Awareness/Discovery, Cliques/Popularity, Feelings, Growing Up, School
• Have any of your friends ever moved away? How did you handle it?
• Is it ok to be worried about what others think of you?
• Is it more important to be happy with yourself or to make sure people like you? Are both equally important?
• What should you do if you are invited to a party but your friend is not?
• If you are feeling weird and worried about the kids at school, whom should you talk to about that?
• If you have a friend who is feeling badly about social stuff, how can you help?
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