“It’s not about us. It’s about what the humans can do and how they can alter their lives” – Paige, Paige vs. Plastic, p. 25
|Monika Davies (writer), Arielle Jovellanos (illustrator)
|Teacher Created Materials
|Environmental Themes and Issues
|Animals in Danger, Anthropomorphism, Environmental Activism, Hybridity, Ocean Conservation, Plastic, Marine Pollution,
|Nonhuman (Hybrid) mermaid girl
Brown-skinned and/or Race unspecified
|Protagonist’s Level of Environmental Agency
|Level 5: High Environmental Agency and Activism
|Middle grade readers (8-12 years old)
This 32-page comic centers on Paige, a mermaid who lives in the ocean. After the death of her environmentalist sister Polly, Paige becomes a mail delivery worker. With the help of her seahorse friend Suri, she spends her days delivering mail to a large cast of anthropomorphized animals, such as a dolphin that receives a trampoline and a crocodile that enjoys gossip magazines.
As Paige and Suri travel along their mail route, they grow increasingly dismayed by the large amounts of plastic that they observe in the ocean. Paige realizes that the sea creatures cannot resolve the issue on their own, remarking, “Polly used to say the most meaningful change has to come from above… It’s not about us. It’s about what the humans can do and how they can alter their lives” (Davies 25). However, at the conclusion of the comic, Paige and the other animals decide to follow Polly’s legacy and help educate humans by creating a blog that will share stories about the harmful impacts of plastic pollution on marine life.
The beginning of the comic includes a list of six “Book Club Questions” that invite young readers to critically reflect on the narrative’s main environmental themes, such as “Why is plastic so harmful to the environment?” and “Is it the responsibility of humans to protect and save our environment? Why?”