Common core
Common core


By Paige Rawl, By Ali Benjamin, By Jay Asher

An astonishing memoir for the untold number of children whose lives have been touched by bullying. Positive is a must-read for teens, their parents, educators, and administrators—a brave, visceral work that will save lives and resonate deeply.

Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth, but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. On an unremarkable day in middle school, she disclosed to a friend her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. From that moment forward, every day was like walking through a minefield. Paige was never sure when or from where the next text, taunt, or hateful message would come. Then one night, desperate for escape, fifteen-year-old Paige found herself in her bathroom staring at a bottle of sleeping pills.

That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning. Paige's memoir calls for readers to choose action over complacency, compassion over cruelty—and above all, to be Positive.

Includes twenty-five photos from Paige's personal collection throughout.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

  • Grade level: 9
  • Interest Level: 9-12
  • Guided Reading Level: Z+


Analyze a complex set of ideas or a sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text. Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness, or beauty of the text.

How does the author?s personal record of history reflect a larger history? Explain how Paige?s life changes over the course of the text. RI.11-12.5,6

What is Paige Rawl?s purpose and message in Positive? How does the author?s purpose and message shape our ideas, values, beliefs, and behaviors? RI.11-12.6

How do you personally connect to this story? W.11-12.9


Positive Discussion Guide

This discussion guide for the memoir Positive, by Paige Rawl, contains Common Core-aligned discussion questions aimed at grades 9 through 12. The guide addresses such areas as analyzing theme and structure, citing textual evidence, and exploring word meaning and usage. [PDF]

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  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Imprint: HarperCollins
  • Format: Hardcover
  • On Sale: 11/30/-0001
  • ISBN: 9780062342515
  • ISBN 10: 0062342517
  • ISBN 13: 9780062342515
  • Pages: 288
  • Trim Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
  • Subcategory:

Kirkus Reviews“Rawl and Benjamin deftly capture the mindset of middle schooler Paige with anecdotes that reveal the teen’s innocence and na├»veté. They tackle tough subjects such as suicide delicately but honestly. Readers will come away feeling inspired by Rawl’s work as an HIV/AIDS speaker and anti-bullying advocate.”

School Library Journal“This realistic and honest biography of a young woman living with HIV will draw readers in, shedding light on this difficult topic. The book beautifully conveys what it’s like to grow up with HIV, dispelling myths about the virus and imparting useful knowledge.”

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