Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge, Amulet Books, 2011, ISBN 978-0-8109-9722-6
Paige has just moved from Virginia to New York with her family. She’s away from her only friend and arguing with her mom, who’s too happy to be real. To combat her loneliness, she buys a sketchbook and starts drawing. To combat her artist block, she sets for herself the following rules:
- Draw a few pages every week
- Draw what you know. If you feel it or see it, draw it
- Listen to what’s going on in your head
- Let yourself fail. Don’t take it all so personally
- Figure out what scares you and do it
- KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid
- Live a LOT to get better material. Let yourself feel everything
- Stay stimulated to avoid creative constipation
- Trust your gut instinct. Be honest with yourself.
These rules end up not only helping her with her art, but also with her life. By following Emile Zola’s precept, “If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud”, Paige finds a way to share who she is with the people who matter most.
I picked up this book after it was nominated as one of 2012 top ten reads by the Young Adult Library Services Association. http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/teenreading/teenstopten/2012TeensTopTenNominations.pdf
The story is a simple one. A teenager moves with her family to the big city and must find a way to make a home there. What makes this book different are the inventive drawings on nearly every page. Laura Lee Gulledge not only shows the reader what happening in Paige’s daily life at school, she also shows how Paige processes those events in her head. As a result, there are some great symbolic drawings of Paige trying to summon up the courage to be honest and tell the truth through her art. For anyone who’s struggled with doing creative work, Paige’s 9 Rules offer a great guide, not only to make great art but make a great life.
From the author’s page on the book cover, we learn that “Laura Lee Gulledge grew up in Virginia and moved to New York. She has worked in art education and scenic painting, among other pursuits. Visit her online at whoispaige.com.”
Reading Level / Interest Age
Grade 9 and up