Intro to Graphic Novels: Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

 

Since this whole class is optional, you can choose to participate (or not) whenever you wish.

However, if you choose to participate, we want to make clear our expectations for that participation.

  • Realize that you should have the book read before you read through the comments. Spoilers will likely appear in the conversations, so please do not be surprised or angry if this happens.

  • Bring reader questions and observations about the text. We will throw our own questions and observations out for you to consider,  but your questions and observations are as important and necessary in this as ours.

  • Please abide by the Thumper Rule when interacting with others:

  • Back up what you’re asking or saying with quotes and page numbers so that we can all follow along.

  • Think about and share possible thematic text connections (classics, YA lit, picture books, poetry, non fiction texts, news stories, movies, YouTube videos). This will be especially helpful information for the teachers among  us, but it’s good thinking for all of us.

Some additional housekeeping thoughts:

  • Please try to respond to be careful about responding to comments – keep main threads together, but try not to get where it is so indented that no one can read what you’re posting!
  • Also consider clicking “Notify me of follow-up comments via email.” when you post a comment. This will keep you informed of continued discussion without having to come back at random intervals to see if there is anything new.
  • Consider introducing yourself briefly in your first post and including a link for your blog if you have one.

ONE FINAL WARNING:

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS DISCUSSION!

DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK!

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About CBethM

I'm a book lover and technology geek who happens to also be a high school English teacher, National Writing Project teacher consultant, and certified school librarian. The opinions I offer here are reflective of my thoughts and opinions and not that of my employer, family, or friends.
This entry was posted in Graphic Novel, Summer 2013. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Intro to Graphic Novels: Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

  1. triana288 says:

    I hesitated to start this blog experience because I am not generally a fan of graphic novels. Chopsticks was my first choice, but since I could not find a copy locally, I read Page by Paige. It was a quick read, and I found that I really enjoyed it. The drawings were very well done, and the story well told. I think high school students would enjoy it as well, and would identify with the thoughts of the narrator.

  2. I read Page by Paige about a year-and-a-half ago, so the details are a little murky for me. I remember liking it though. I thought it was clever and appealing. Still, our school library owns it, but I’ve never seen a student read it, even after I book-talked it in class. Does anyone have a sense of how young readers like this one?

    • I wonder if Lea (@leakelley), Jillian (@heisereads), or Brian (@brianwyzlic) have had any of their middle school readers read this book. I’ll ask them on Twitter and ask them to respond here so all of us can find out 🙂

    • Brian Wyzlic says:

      I’ve found it’s a bit hit or a big miss with my 7th and 8th graders. After book-talking, I had a few takers. I did some direct hand-selling of it, too. But even among them, they either loved it (favorite graphic novel) or didn’t enjoy it much at all. It’s not as popular as I’d hope it would be, but it has a few readers each year.

    • My impression/memory is that this was pretty popular with the 8th graders, mostly girls. Sometimes the GNs make less of an impact because they’re read pretty quickly. In a month every interested student could finish it.

    • skajder says:

      I teach 8th grade and have had several female students enjoy this one, but what I don’t see with their reading of graphic novels is the “lingering” and thinking that I see them engage in with mono-modal texts. I’m honestly debating adding Persepolis to our curriculum (thematically focused on “Justice”) just to have a critical space for full-class discussion of how we read graphic novels… Is this just my class?

  3. martha says:

    I am a jr/sr high librarian, have worked in public libraries and love all childrens’ lit! I enjoyed Page by Paige – I liked seeing personal growth, I identified with teen v. parent crankiness (unfortunately from both sides of that divide), and the illustrations added to the book. I liked the sly verbal and visual puns. Some of the illustrations that really hit me were: the picture of Paige calm on the outside but screaming on the inside (who hasn’t felt like that?) and when Paige decides to draw about what’s bothering her “shaking them out of my head” with Paige as a salt shaker and a pile of letters/thoughts/ideas below her.
    thanks for doing this book discussion!

  4. Terry says:

    Hi everyone! To repeat from the Chopsticks page: I work at a community college, with students whose reading levels hover around 5th-9th grade. I’m also working on an MA in Education from Goddard College.

    I read both Chopsticks and Page by Paige and I…didn’t really fall in super-duper love with them, overall. (Here is myGoodReads review for Page by Paige: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/669329616) But I also was reading them sort of with one eye as just a reader, and with a second eye as a teacher: how would I “use” this book; how would I justify recommending this book, and to which students? (Hmm, that makes me sound cross-eyed. Ha.) So I think that may have affected my reading experiences.

    But I would perhaps pick this book to recommend to young adults over Chopsticks, because I think there are more themes/thoughts/experiences that young adults could relate to in this book. I’m old 😉 so I did find Paige a tiny bit insufferable in some places, but, I also think that means she was a very realistic teen trying to find her way. I think students just entering high school would really like this book, just because of the way it is organized (the “rules” that open each chapter, for example) and the details that Gulledge includes about her relationship with her parents and her own insecurities–I think a LOT of readers would relate to that, even if they aren’t artists. So many kids seem to feel their interests are “weird” so I think this would be a good read.

    I do have one small criticism, actually. I have the hardcover edition, and the pages are unnumbered, but it’s just four pages before the end of Chapter/Rule 3, where the students at the high school are introducing themselves to Paige. I have to admit I cringed a bit when she referred to the mixed-race kids as “exotic” especially compared to her “pale” complexion. Eek. I think that might merit a discussion in class (well, that may just be the make-up of my school)..?

    • I agree with your last point, Terry. It’s been a while since I’ve read this, but I do remember that and it made me cringe as well. I would discuss that word choice regardless of the dynamics of my school/class b/c it’s a great example on word choice and what it can mean to readers.

      • Terry says:

        Thanks so much for your response! I was a little surprised that that goes unchallenged or even ever discussed again later in the book. (Congrats on your new job, too!)

    • Terry,

      I would imagine that for a girl moving from a largely homogeneous area of Virginia, many of the students in NYC would seem “exotic.” I think that’s why she uses the phrase–it’s to show how much a fish out of water she is. I think it’s definitely worth discussing in class, still; but I didn’t see it as cringe-worthy, to me it just served to underscore her naivety.

      • Thinking of it as showcasing her naivety is a good way of looking at it, Danielle.

      • Terry says:

        Speaking of which, I forgot to mention earlier that the book reminds me a lot of the movie Save the Last Dance 🙂 I wonder if students would like that connection (or is Save the Last Dance now considered an “old” movie? Probably!) I agree that it underscores her new experience/new world; still, it could be considered offensive, I think, to some students, especially since she makes the connection between their heritage and the color of her skin (anything but “pale” = exotic), specifically. I agree with you about why it is there–I just wish she had come back to that thought perhaps later in the book. But–I shouldn’t be editing the book as I’m reading it–just reading it! 🙂

  5. Ali says:

    I’m a middle school special education teacher, but I also teach one section of 7th grade language arts. This is my first graphic novel. I loved this book and can think of several student I would recommend it to. Paige’s struggles with who she is in relationship to her peers, her family, and her new community seemed genuine and raw. I liked the writing but the pictures were what really resonated with me. It’s a book that I could read over and over.

  6. My username through WordPress is “Mrs. Andersen” since I use my blog with my students, but my name is Sarah Andersen and I blog at YA Love. I apologize for being late to this discussion. I just accepted a new high school English position at a different district and was busy signing the paperwork before getting a celebratory lunch with my mom 🙂

    Anyway, I’m VERY excited that Page by Paige made the final three because this is one of my favorite graphic novels. The art is stunning; I love the visual metaphors and the symbolism. One of the images that stands out in my memory is the picture of Paige’s face in two different directions. I wish I knew the page number.

    My graphic novels aren’t as popular in my classroom as I’d like them to be, but they’re growing in popularity. I’ve noticed that Page by Paige is very popular with my girls in class who love to draw and/or are very artistic. Have any of you noticed your artistic students picking up graphic novels?

    • Sarah,

      I do a project where our writing students draft a story and the art students illustrate it. This has proven to be a popular project and this year, I’m teaming up with the graphic design classes to bring to life my students’ Six Word Memoirs. There is a lot of opportunity for cross-curricular activities with graphic novels.

    • Congratulations Sarah!

      I really love Page by Paige — the story is great and the artwork is fantastic! I have just added it to our collection (6th-12th library) so I can’t speak as to how it will circulate but I expect my girls will really enjoy it. I have a lot of artistic students who I know will appreciate the attention to detail on each page.

  7. Heather P says:

    I really enjoyed Page by Paige. I don’t often read graphic novels but it’s my goal this summer to read more so I can recommend them to my students. I’m currently teaching a writing class at a summer camp and would have loved to have shared this with my students (unfortunately, the camp ends tomorrow). I think it’s a great book for all creative types. Even though it’s specific to art, I think writers go through the same emotions when sharing their pieces. I can see this being popular with my freshmen.

  8. Terry says:

    Re: somewhat surprising lack of popularity–a few reviewers on GoodReads mentioned that the cover art makes it look like a book for much younger grades (well, like, 4th grade) and that might be off-putting to 7th & 8th graders.

  9. Hi All 🙂

    I’m Danielle, an 11th grade English teacher and book blogger at http://www.mymercurialmusings.com

    I met Laura Lee Gulledge at NYCC in October and I picked up Page by Paige because it looked really cute. Yesterday, I re-read it just to refresh my memory. This is definitely a cute book that will appeal to both writers and artists. A few of my kids have read it during our school-wide SSR time.

  10. CBethM says:

    ( Apologies in advance for the all caps message. It’s an accident and I don’t want to retype…I’m really not yelling!)
     I’M CINDY AND I TEACH 9TH AND 12TH GRADE ENGLISH. SO MUCH OF THIS RESONATED WITH ME AS I READ IT FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY (HAD TO ORDER IT ABD I WAS AT THE MERCY OF THE FINE PEOPLE WHO DELIVER THINGS AT UPS) WAS HOW SIMILAR THE EXPECTATIONS PAIGE HAS FOUR HER NOTEBOOK TO THE ONES I HAVE FOR MY STUDENTS WRITERS NOTEBOOKS. IT’S A SAFE PLACE TO PLAY AND PRACTICE AND RECORD IDEAS. COUPLE THAT WITH THE FEAR SHE HAD IN SHARING IT. OH MY IS THAT WHAT I FEEL SOMEDAYS ABOUT SHARING MY WRITING. I THINK ANYTHING WE INVEST OURSELVES IN CREATES THIS. THE OTHER THING I NOTICED WAS THE DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY SHE DRAWS SOMETIMES – HER MIRRORS OF PAIGE AND OTHER CHARACTERS ARE MORE…I DON’T KNOW… MORE REALISTIC THAN THEIR COMIC COMPANIONS. I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT WHY. ANYONE ELSE HAVE BETTER TERMINOLOGY FOR THIS? I’M STILL PROCESSING BUT I’M THINKING IT HAD MORE TO DO WITH HER BEING THE WAY SHE SEES HERSELF VERSUS THE WAY SHE THINKS OTHERS SEE HER. BUT THAT DOESN’T SEEM TO ALWAYS HOLD TRUE. THOUGHTS?

  11. Pingback: ‘Reading’ my first graphic novel | Books are my Bling

  12. Kim McSorley says:

    Good morning. I’m Kim McSorley a Reading Specialist at a Native American elementary school, grades K-8.

    I have been reading more graphic novels this summer than ever. Got some at ALA and read a couple right way. It is a goal of mine for this school year to expose my students to graphic novels.

    Anyway, I loved Page by Paige. I think it is a book that would appeal to the 7/8 grade girls at our school. We have some talented artistic students. I enjoyed the storyline and loved the whole fish out of water theme. Being from the midwest, I could relate to Paige and I believe so could my students. Some of them have never been outside of the state and have no idea what the rest of the world is like beyond the borders. Another storyline was the struggle Paige was experiencing with her family as well. Again another concept that students could relate to.

    I really like the above comment from Cindy, regarding the use of writer’s notebook. I feel that middle school teachers could use this as a mentor text to demonstrate the use of writer’s notebook. How Paige would capture her thoughts within her own notebook.

    I was wondering throughout the book if Paige and Jules were going to at some point experiment with relationship. Jules gives off the vibe of having gay tendencies. Her behavior towards Paige seemed as if she had a crush on Paige. Jules would crack oblivious comments here and there that would go over Paige’s head. Such as when they first meet and they were having a conversation about Hopey and how Jules loves her and questions Paige’s likeness for Hopey and how Paige is not her type anyway. My book is not number but this reference comes from Chapter 3, within the first couple of pages. As you continue reading, my suspicion is heightened as Jules looks at Paige longing, she kisses Paige’s hand and says goodbye. This behavior makes Paige blush and walk away. Jules informs the boys that she just “loves to see her blush.” When Paige asks for Jules advice about clothes. And later on in Chapter 5 when they are both in the park drawing body outlines. They then sit on a bench and talk. I thought Jules was going to make a move on Paige. Jules ends up confiding in Paige and divulges information, only discussed among the two. I like how Paige guided Jules to get her thoughts down in a notebook.

    I overall enjoyed Page by Paige and would recommend it to my 7/8 students.

  13. Jen S says:

    Something that bothered me here was the portrayal of Paige’s mom. Does every teenage girl have to think that her mother doesn’t understand her, isn’t worthy of a genuine conversation, and has a bad haircut/no sense of style? I think that if Paige hadn’t been so self-absorbed (which she does admit to right before Rule #5 [wish we had page numbers here]), she might have come to her “mom-epiphany” before the end and it wouldn’t have had to be part of the story line.

    I’d be interested in contrasting selections where the teenage girl and her mom have a great relationship. I’m sure there have to be some out there!!

    • CBethM says:

      I love my mom, but this was a common theme when I was a teenager. I think it’s realistic to have this sort of conflict. I didn’t think her mom looked bad – it was clear that the problem was Paige’s frustration with her mom.

      • Jen S says:

        Yes, yes, I know. Teenage girls vs. their moms from the dawn of time. Maybe that’s what I’m feeling with this book – the storyline was just so commonplace to me. Girl vs. Mom, Girl vs. New Place to Live, Girl Meets Boy, etc. There was nothing deep going on here in terms of the written message.

        That said, the ART is amazing, and I agree with Sarah that this is where the reader will need to go beyond the surface and really think about what the author is “saying” through the art. I find that students are really good at interpreting art in graphic novels – much better than myself. Last year, we used The Influencing Machine as our freshman common read at the college where I teach. I run a 12-day “pre-college boot camp” for at risk students who have been accepted on a conditional basis. I was BLOWN AWAY by their interpretations of the art in that book, and I have no doubt that middle and high school students could have some profound discussions about certain spreads in Page by Paige as well.

    • Terry says:

      I read it as a bit exaggerated, on purpose, meaning that that’s how emotions feel at that age 🙂 even if they’re not accurate (and that’s why I think this book would particularly appeal to–as it seems to, based on the comments here–teens right about the 8th-grade level). But I know what you mean, because overall sometimes I felt that Paige bordered on being a bit shallow and a bit too self-centered, but I gave that a bit of a pass, thinking that she was reflecting on all the growth she was in the process of doing and would continue to do (I hope).

      • Jen S says:

        Thanks, Terry! Maybe it was just too hot here in PA when I read it, putting me in a cranky mood and worrying that there is no hope for my own tween-age daughter to see me as cool and understanding in T-minus 3 years. :0)

      • Terry says:

        Jen S.–oh, hang in there! It’s a tough age (and I don’t even HAVE kids). 🙂 (And I love PA! I miss it there, but I definitely don’t miss humidity, so hang in there on that front, too. Ha.)

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