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Original Essays | August 18, 2014

Ian Leslie: IMG Empathic Curiosity

Today, we wonder anxiously if digital media is changing our brains. But if there's any time in history when our mental operations changed... Continue »
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The Giver


The Giver Cover



Author Q & A


Q. When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

A. I cannot remember ever not wanting to be a writer.

Q. What inspired you to write The Giver?

A. Kids always ask what inspired me to write a particular book or how did I get an idea for a particular book, and often it’s very easy to answer that because books like the Anastasia books come from a specific thing; some little event triggers an idea. But a book like The Giver is a much more complicated book, and therefore it comes from much more complicated places—and many of them are probably things that I don’t even recognize myself anymore, if I ever did. So it’s not an easy question to answer.

I will say that the whole concept of memory is one that interests me a great deal. I’m not sure why that is, but I’ve always been fascinated by the thought of what memory is and what it does and how it works and what we learn from it. And so I think probably that interest of my own and that particular subject was the origin, one of many, of The Giver.

Q. How did you decide what Jonas should take on his journey?

A. Why does Jonas take what he does on his journey? He doesn’t have much time when he sets out. He originally plans to make the trip farther along in time, and he plans to prepare for it better. But then, because of circumstances, he has to set out in a very hasty fashion. So what he chooses is out of necessity. He takes food because he needs to survive. He takes the bicycle because he needs to hurry and the bike is faster than legs. And he takes the baby because he is going out to create a future. And babies always represent the future in the same way children represent the future to adults. And so Jonas takes the baby so the baby’s life will be saved, but he takes the baby also in order to begin again with a new life.

Q. When you wrote the ending, were you afraid some readers would want more details or did you want to leave the ending open to individual interpretation?

A. Many kids want a more specific ending to The Giver. Some write, or ask me when they see me, to spell it out exactly. And I don’t do that. And the reason is because The Giver is many things to many different people. People bring to it their own complicated beliefs and hopes and dreams and fears and all of that. So I don’t want to put my own feelings into it, my own beliefs, and ruin that for people who create their own endings in their minds.

Q. Is it an optimistic ending? Does Jonas survive?

A. I will say that I find it an optimistic ending. How could it not be an optimistic ending, a happy ending, when that house is there with its lights on and music is playing? So I’m always kind of surprised and disappointed when some people tell me that they think the boy and the baby just die. I don’t think they die. What form their new life takes is something I like people to figure out for themselves. And each person will give it a different ending. I think they’re out there somewhere and I think that their life has changed and their life is happy, and I would like to think that’s true for the people they left behind as well.

Q. In what way is your book Gathering Blue a companion to The Giver?

A. Gathering Blue postulates a world of the future, as The Giver does. I simply created a different kind of world, one that had regressed instead of leaping forward technologically as the world of The Giver has. It was fascinating to explore the savagery of such a world. I began to feel that maybe it coexisted with Jonas’s world . . . and that therefore Jonas could be a part of it in a tangential way. So there is a reference to a boy with light eyes at the end of Gathering Blue. He can be Jonas or not, as you wish.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

Rifkin, Ron
Rifkin, Ron
Lois Lowry, read by Ron Rifkin
Lowry, Lois
Listening Library
New York
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Science fiction
Social Situations - Values
Social Issues - Values
Audiobooks (Unabridged)
Children's audiobooks.
General Juvenile Fiction
Situations / General
fiction;dystopia;science fiction;young adult;fantasy;ya;utopia;newbery;dystopian;newbery medal;future;children s;memories;coming of age;novel;children;children s literature;futuristic;classic;memory;society;family;euthanasia;classics;juvenile;teen;young a
Edition Description:
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 5
4 sound discs (4 hrs., 48
6.32x5.42x1.03 in. .35 lbs.
Media Run Time:
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Audio Books » Children's
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Science Fiction
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Values and Virtues

The Giver New Compact Disc
0 stars - 0 reviews
$28.00 In Stock
Product details 4 sound discs (4 hrs., 48 pages Listening Library - English 9780807262030 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Now, Jonas is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now it's time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back. "The Giver" received the Newbery Medal in 19 94. Unabridged. 4 CD's. Young Adult.
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