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The Giverby Lois Lowry
Synopses & Reviews
Discover the worlds of Lois Lowry in this beautiful boxed set. This perfect gift collection by New York Times bestselling author Lois Lowry, which includes the award-winning titles The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger, is available to coincide with the publication of Lowry’s newest book, Son. Lowry was twice the recipient of the Newbery Medal, for Number the Stars and for The Giver. Her powerful and provocative novels are full of suspense, drama, and heart-wrenching action.
The Giver: When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out for special training from The Giver. Now it’s time for Jonas to learn the truth. There is no turning back.
Gathering Blue: Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg, lives in a world where the weak are cast aside. When she is given a task that no other community member can carry out, Kira realizes that she is surrounded by mysteries and secrets—and finds that she possesses an extraordinary power.
Messenger: Matty has always been proud to be Village’s Messenger. But now that Village is closing its once-welcoming doors, Matty must make one last journey through the treacherous forest—and one great sacrifice to save the place he loves.
Lowry’s novels feature remarkable characters. This boxed set reveals the unexpected connections among their lives.
The Worlds of Lois Lowry boxed set is the perfect gift this holiday season.
"A powerful and provocative novel." The New York Times
"Lowry is once again in top form... unwinding a tale fit for the most adventurous readers." Publisher's Weekly
"This is a stunning, provocative science fiction story that will inspire discussion." Children's Literature
"Winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal, Lowry's thought-provoking fantasy challenges adolescents to explore important social and political issues. The Giver trains twelve-year-old Jonas as the next Receiver of Memory, the community's receptacle of past memories. This seemingly utopian society (without pain, poverty, unemployment, or disorder) is actually a body- and mind-controlling dystopia (without love, colors, sexual feelings, or memories of the past). In an exciting plot twist, Jonas courageously resolves his moral dilemma and affirms the human spirit's power to prevail, to celebrate love, and to transmit memories. From the book jacket's evocative photographic images — The Giver in black and white; trees in blazing color — to the suspenseful conclusion, this book is first-rate. Just as Lowry's Number the Stars (which received the 1990 Newbery Medal) portrays the Danish people's triumph over Nazi persecution, The Giver engages the reader in an equally inspiring victory over totalitarian inhumanity." The ALAN Review
"In a complete departure from her other novels, Lowry has written an intriguing story set in a society that is uniformly run by a Committee of Elders. Twelve-year-old Jonas's confidence in his comfortable 'normal' existence as a member of this well-ordered community is shaken when he is assigned his life's work as the Receiver. The Giver, who passes on to Jonas the burden of being the holder for the community of all memory 'back and back and back,' teaches him the cost of living in an environment that is 'without color, pain, or past.' The tension leading up to the Ceremony, in which children are promoted not to another grade but to another stage in their life, and the drama and responsibility of the sessions with The Giver are gripping. The final flight for survival is as riveting as it is inevitable. The author makes real abstract concepts, such as the meaning of a life in which there are virtually no choices to be made and no experiences with deep feelings. This tightly plotted story and its believable characters will stay with readers for a long time." School Library Journal
Winner of the Newbery Medal and named as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Lowry's unforgettable tale introduces 12-year-old Jonas, who is singled out by his community to be trained by The Giver.
About the Author
1. In The Giver, each family has two parents, a son, and a daughter. The relationships are not biological but are developed through observation and a careful handling of personality. In our own society, the makeup of family is under discussion. How are families defined? Are families the foundations of a society, or are they continually open for new definitions?
2. In Jonass community, every person and his or her experience are precisely the same. The climate is controlled, and competition has been eliminated in favor of a community in which everyone works only for the common good. What advantages might “Sameness” yield for contemporary communities? Is the loss of diversity worthwhile?
3. Underneath the placid calm of Jonass society lies a very orderly and inexorable system of euthanasia, practiced on the very young who do not conform, the elderly, and those whose errors threaten the stability of the community. What are the disadvantages and benefits of a community that accepts such a vision of euthanasia?
4. Why is the relationship between Jonas and The Giver dangerous, and what does this danger suggest about the nature of love?
5. The ending of The Giver may be interpreted in two very different ways. Perhaps Jonas is remembering his Christmas memory-one of the most beautiful that The Giver transmitted to him-as he and Gabriel are freezing to death, falling into a dreamlike coma in the snow. Or perhaps Jonas does hear music and, with his special vision, is able to perceive the warm house where people are waiting to greet him. In her acceptance speech for the Newbery Medal, Lois Lowry mentioned both possibilities but would not choose one as correct. What evidence supports each interpretation?
6. There are groups in the United States today that actively seek to maintain an identity outside the mainstream culture: the Amish, the Mennonites, Native American tribes, and the Hasidic Jewish community. What benefits do these groups expect from defining themselves as “other”? What are the disadvantages? How does the mainstream culture put pressure on such groups?
7. Lois Lowry helps create an alternate world by having the community use words in a special way. Though that world stresses what it calls “precision of language,” in fact it is built upon language that is not precise but deliberately clouds meaning. What is the danger of such misleading language?
8. Examine the ways in which Jonass community uses euphemism to distance itself from the reality of “Release.” How does our own society use euphemism to distance us from such realities as aging and death, bodily functions, and political activities? What are the benefits and disadvantages of such uses of language?
Prepared by Gary D. Schmidt, Department of English, Calvin College
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