7. Lowry, Lois . The Giver. Houghton Mifflin, 1993. 179 pages. Tr. $5.95 ISBN 9780385732550
Brief Plot Description: Jonas lives in a utopian community where everyone believes in equality without pain and happiness, and everyone has his/her own role in the community. At the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas is chosen to be the receiver of memories from the Giver, the only person who holds people’s memories in the community. Through the Giver, Jonas begins to be able to see colors, have feelings of love, happiness, and sadness and learn the truth behind all this and the real meaning of “release.” Jonas decides to change the community by returning people’s memories back to them.
Genre(s)/Subject(s): Fantasy, Science Fiction, courage, compassion, power, authority and governance, families and social structures, leadership and responsibility
Reading Level: Ages 9 and above
Awards: Newbery Medal Winners for 1994
Books Similar in Style, Content, Theme, or Characters: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins,Ear, The Eye, and The Arm by Nancy Farmer
Programming/Lesson Ideas: Since this novel is not easy to read for some tweens, it is suggested to have a study guide or group discussion guide for tweens.
Personal Thoughts: I enjoyed reading this novel because it is thought-provoking. Do people really need a utopian society like Jonas’ community? I think the true value of a human being’s existence is the ability to have feelings, to love, and to have freedom of choices. Although people need to face the dark side of their emotions sometimes, such as frustration, sadness, and fear, people still enjoy their lives because they also feel happiness and love. It is more important to have the freedom to choose our own lifestyle instead of living aimlessly like the people in the novel.