Skip to main content

The Popularity Papers: The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow, 208 pp, RL 5

The Popularity Papers: The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow marks the fifth book in the series since it started in August of 2010. On the off chance that you are not familiar with this series, please read my review of the first book in the series, Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham Chang in which I go on at length about all the wonderful, inspirational, thoughtful, creative things that Amy is doing with this series. And please note that books #1, #2 and #3 are now in paperback! If you are familiar with the series, The Popularity Papers: The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang begins three days after the end of book 4, The Popularity Papers: The Rocky Road Trip of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang. This is one of the few series that I have continued to read and review on my blog because I love it so much and want to keep you all up to date on the latest addition to the series and hopefully expose more people to these amazing books.

Sadly, I couldn't find any images from The Popularity Papers: The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang to share with you here, so I'll just jump right in. The Popularity Papers: The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang takes off with plans to celebrate Lydia and Julie's birthdays, both at the end of August, and the countdown to the first day of seventh grade. The girls decide to forgo birthday parties since every one is usually out of town anyway, and cash in by asking for expensive gifts. Julie wants a laptop of her own so she can learn computer graphics and make her own comic books. Lydia wants a guitar and music lessons so she can start a band. And she wants Julie to ask for a a drum kit. Lydia proves persuasive, convincing Julie that a having a band just might make them popular. It seems like the girls finally might have a recipe for success. Roland joins the band playing his hardingfele and things seem to be looking up. Of course, there are going to be bumps along the road, though. Lydia's guitar teacher, a crusty older man who insists on being called Maestro Merritt, makes her life difficult. As does Jane. When Jane and Chuck started dating, Jane, Gretchen and Lisa stopped talking to Lydia and Julie because Jane was insanely jealous of Chuck's friendship with Lydia. When Chuck and Jane break up after school starts, Chuck wants to be friends with Lydia again and she is not too sure she wants to reciprocate. Then Jane starts talking to Lydia again also! (Man, Ignatow has a way with middle school machinations, making me so happy I survived it...) When word of the girls' band leaks out, Lisa and Gretchen BEG Lydia and Julie to invite her to join so that she will STOP talking about Chuck incessantly and they grudgingly agree, especially when they learn that her mother built s soundproof room and recording studio in the basement to send demos of Jane to producers.

Jane and her drama adds a layer of crazy to Julie and Lydia's lives that almost spins out of control several times, from their first gig at a six-year-old's princess birthday party to the Macramé Owls's  official debut at a party at Julie's house that gets out of control. On top of it all, Lydia's mom is blissfully happy and her sister Melody returns from building homes in Guatemala a completely different person - one who is disturbingly kind, grateful and loving... Oh yeah, and Julie gets her first kiss!

As always, Lydia and Julie are confused, misguided, occasionally mistaken and thoughtful, kind and generous under pressure. These are two really great kids and I enjoy watching them grow up. Hopefully Amy Ignatow will take these friends through the end of eighth grade and maybe even into the summer before freshman year!

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…