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The Popularity Papers:
Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang

by Amy Ignatow

Published by Abrams, 2010
204 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8109-8421-9

Ages 8-11

Podcast featuring this book

Best friends Lydia and Julia record their witty observations about what makes certain fifth graders popular in a notebook they pass back and forth. Their plan is to figure out the key to popularity by the time they enter middle school. Their year is peppered with activities to get people to notice them—all based on what the most popular girls do. While taking up knitting doesn’t prove to be effective, joining a stick-fighting club and the lacrosse team opens opportunities for new friendships. A real strength of this laugh-out-loud book is the unexpectedly deep and distinctive characterizations of Lydia and Julia, and the wonderful secondary characters, including Julia’s gay dads (one of whom is Asian American) and Lydia’s rebellious older sister, Melody, a goth girl. An eventual fallout between the two best friends offers an opportunity to discover how much they’ve grown, which includes being able to sincerely say “sorry.” Amy Ignatow’s light, funny novel, written in two distinctive narrative styles (and fonts) and featuring numerous illustrations (also in two distinctive styles), is a perceptive and poignant commentary on friendship. (CF) ©2011 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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