Drama Discussion Module


by Raina Telgemeier, color by Gurihiru

Publishing Information: New York: Graphix, 2012
ISBN: 9780545326995

Pages: 233 p.
Ages: 10-14

Annotation: With budding relationships everywhere, Callie rides an emotional roller coaster while serving on the stage crew for a middle school theater production.

Summary: Callie loves the theater but lacks singing talent. That won’t keep her from the stage, though. As the set designer for her school production of Moon Over Mississippi, she’s determined to set a new standard for props by building a cannon that shoots confetti and streamers. Easier said than done. In the meantime, crushes, misunderstandings, and lots of confusion threaten to distract her from her work. Will her own story end with a kiss, or something else?

Book Trailer:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysWrqAMktc0

Book Talk:  PLACES EVERYONE!Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school's production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can't really sing. Instead she's the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she's determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn't know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier! (from Raina Telgemeier’s website)

Subject Headings & Major Themes:    Theater

    Stage Crew



    Sexual Identity

    Middle School

    Graphic Novels

    Interpersonal Relationships

Awards & Reviews:
A Stonewall Honor Book, 2013
Harvey Award Nominee, 2013
NPR: 5 Great Summer Reads for Teens
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2012
A Washington Post Best Book of 2012
New York Times Editors’ Choice
Booklist Editors’ Choice
NPR: Graphic Novels that Flew Under the Radar
New York Public Library’s 100 Titles For Reading and Sharing
School Library Journal Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2012

New York Times Book Review, September 2, 2012, p. 22

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2012

Publishers Weekly, June 4, 2012, p. 55

School Library Journal, November 2012, p. 129

Discussion Questions and Ideas:

  1. Callie loves the theater but realizes early that she doesn’t have the natural talent for a place onstage. Would you be satisfied with not being the star? How does Callie take her passion to the next level?

  2. How does Callie build her theater knowledge over time? Note she isn’t glued to the Internet--what other sources does she use?

  3. How do some of the stars/more popular kids try to make Callie and her friends feel “less than”? How does her group defend and protect themselves?

  4. Jesse gives Callie mixed signals about his feelings toward her. Which actions make her think he likes her as a girlfriend and which makes her think he likes her as a friend? Why do you think Jesse does this?

  5. In many comic books and cartoons, female characters are drawn in a certain way (think of female superheroes and Disney princesses, for example). How does Telgemeier draw her female characters, particularly Callie?

  6. At the dance, Callie is mad at Jesse for ditching her and Liz is mad at Callie for the same reason. Are they both justified in their anger? How do they resolve it?

  7. Justin and Jesse’s father only briefly appears, but how does that scene emphasize the difference in the twins’ personalities?

  8. Was Callie right to turn Greg down when he asked her out? Why did she refuse him?

  9. While Callie doesn’t get the guy, she does seem to get a happy ending. How is she rewarded? Were you satisfied by the ending?

  10. “Moon Over Mississippi” isn’t a real show. Why do you think Telgemeier decided to make one up instead of using something like “Phantom of the Opera” or “Oklahoma!”?

  11. Compare how a book is usually structured and how a play is usually structured. What techniques does Telgemeier use to blur the lines between the two in Drama?

  12. Many graphic novels are strictly in black and white, but not Drama. How does the addition of color impact the way you viewed the book?

  13. Like Callie and her friends, graphic novels are sometimes treated as “less than”. What are some of the serious themes in Drama and how does the graphic novel format impact the way they are presented? Where does the art enhance the story and where does it detract from the story?

  14. Manga (traditional Japanese graphic novels) has its own visual vocabulary. For example, if a character appears with a cat mouth it means they’re up to something, and a character with big eyes is usually sweet and good. Western graphic novelists often borrow from the manga tradition and have some traditions of their own. What sort of artistic devices does Telgemeier use to communicate her characters’ feelings?

Related Websites:
Author's Website - http://goraina.com/

What Are Manga and Anime? - http://www.mit.edu/~rei/Expl.html

Manga Iconography -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manga_iconography

Graphic novels for teens - http://www.ipl.org/div/graphicnovels/


Graphic Novels
Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge, 2013
Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks, 2012

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, 2011

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch, 2010

Chiggers by Hope Larson, 2008

Yotsuba! by Kiyohiko Azuma, 2005

The Greatest of Marlys by Lynda Barry, 2000


Theater Fiction

Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle, 2013

The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LeZebnik, 2013

Starring Arabelle by Hillary Hall De Baun, 2012

Tracing Stars by Erin Moulton, 2012

My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff, 2011

Here’s How I See It: Here’s How It Is by Heather Henson, 2009

Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors, 2008

The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely Lost It by Lisa Shanahan, 2007


Theater Non-Fiction

Theatrical Design and Production by J. Michael Gillette, 2013

Fundamentals of Theatrical Design by Karen Brewster, 2011

Broadway: The American Musical by Laurence Maslon, 2010

Cool Special Effects: How to Stage Your Very Own Show by Karen Latchana Kenney, 2010

Stage Crafts by Chris Hoggett, 2001

Create Your Own Stage Effects by Gill Davies, 1999


Other Books by the Author:
Sisters (Smile #2), expected 2014

Smile, 2010

X-Men: Misfits, with Dave Roman, Anzu, 2009

The Baby-Sitters Club: Claudia and Mean Janine, with Ann M. Martin, 2008

The Baby-Sitters Club: Mary Anne Saves the Day, with Ann M. Martin, 2007

The Baby-Sitters Club: The Truth about Stacey, with Ann M. Martin, 2006

The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy’s Great Idea, with Ann M. Martin, 2006

Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery, with Dave Roman, Jeff Zornow, Jason Ho, 2006

About the Author:
Raina Telgemeier is the author and illustrator of the graphic novels Smile and Drama, both #1 New York Times bestsellers. She also adapted and illustrated four graphic novel versions of Ann M. Martin's Baby-sitters Club series, and has contributed short stories to many anthologies. Raina's accolades include an Eisner Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, a Stonewall Honor, and many Best Of and Notable lists. Raina lives and works in Queens, NY, with her cartoonist husband, Dave Roman.