Thursday, January 19, 2012

Page by Paige

Quiet artist Paige moves to New York City with her parents and is quickly intimidated by how different life is from Virginia. She decides to be her own friend first, purchases a sketchbook, and follows her grandmother's rules for being an artist (check them out here). These rules serve as chapter titles and give a preview of the events that will occur in that section.

Page by Paige's coming of age story will be instantly relatable to introspective readers. Paige vacillates between the safety of keeping to herself and her desire to make friends. Every time she pushes herself beyond her comfort level, she is rewarded: with increased creativity, new friends, and more confidence.

The art is the true star of the novel. Laura Lee Gulledge's black and white illustrations beautifully express Paige's emotions. Many of the issues that Paige faces are common to middle and high school students, who will hopefully get strength from seeing them represented as true art. If I was a guidance counselor, I would buy one copy to keep
in my office and one copy to cut up and frame for my walls. One of my favorite drawings depicts the line, "I tell myself that everyone else feels alone, too." A small box shows the high school hallway and the rest of the page features each student in their own rowboat. Each page must have taken so much work that Page by Paige deserves a place of honor in everyone's classroom library.

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