Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Popularity Papers

Ignatow, Amy (Author/Illustrator)
Abrams 2011. 208 pages
First published: 2010
Series: The Popularity Papers
ISBN: 9780810997233 (paperback)
9780810984219 (hardcover)
9781613121597 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Graphic Text
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

character, dialogue, structures and features

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Lydia and Julie, best friends in the fifth grade, have a shared goal: to work out how to become popular. In a notebook they keep together, they record observations, make lists, preserve notes passed in class and write diary entries of their somewhat disastrous attempts at cracking the popularity code.

Told through the incredibly charming and funny voices of the two main characters, Lydia (bolder and more theatrical) and Julie (a withdrawn observer with a flair for illustration) divvy up the experiments that continuously backfire. A botched dye job leaves Lydia with a bald spot, while Julie accidentally courts the unwanted attention of a Norwegian classmate.

Managing to be both hilarious and insightful, the voice of these pre-teen girls is highly relatable: “So, we’ve talked it over and we’ve come to the conclusion that NOTHING IS WORKING … But we can’t give up. If we give up, we might as well just walk into middle school and ask everyone to make horrible fun of us.” A characteristic hand-drawn illustration shows the two girls inside a red and white bullseye with captions: “Mock us please! Yes! We’re here to make you feel better about being you!”

The book itself looks like a scrapbook, with a mix of handwriting (black or blue ink), coloured pencil and ink drawings in Julie’s signature style, boldly outlined headings, and portraits of classmates drawn with arrows, explaining what makes them popular.

A funny, heartfelt and very accessible story about identity and trying to fit in.

  •  

    Discuss the characteristics of a good friend. Discuss whether it is important to be popular. Can someone be both friendly and popular?

  •  

    The author flows back and forth between dialogue and diary writing. The writing is intended to be kept secret (but we are in on it.) Explore the structures and features of this text and determine what makes the dialogue so interesting and what makes this is a diary. Why do readers want to be in on the secret?

  •  

    Create character maps for both Lydia and Julie. Compare yourself to them: What do you have in common? How are you different?

  •  

    Choose some of the most dramatic dialogue and act it out with a partner. Be sure to use stress and intonation to give the piece appropriate prosody.

  •  

    With a partner, write your own dialogue, in the same style, about a class or school issue that is important to you both.

  •  

    Do you write a diary? What do you know about journaling, notebooking or writing a diary. Explore the different structures and features of the book.

  •  

    Discuss the characteristics of a good friend. Discuss whether it is important to be popular or not. Can someone be both friendly and popular? Give examples from the story.

  •  

    Create character maps for both Lydia and Julie. Compare yourself with them. What character traits make them friends?

  •  

    With a partner, practise reading some of the dialogue, using the proper pronunciation and intonation.

  •  

    Write your own dialogue, in the same style, about a class or school issue.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use creativity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Drama
  • Visual Arts