|Lois Lowry||Biographical Information Below|
Ages 9 Up
By Lois Lowry
Kira, a young girl with physical flaws, sits and tends the lingering and final departure of her mother's spirit in the Field of Leaving. Now orphaned, she feels alone and fearful in a community that has regressed to a primitive society that rejects and discards its weak. The women of the village want her "cot," and appeal to the Council of Guardians that she is useless and to have her removed.
The Council, aware of her magical weaving talents, moves her to the Council Edifice, one of the few structures to survive the Ruin. They ask Kira to repair the Singer's robe, a ceremonial garment that depicts the history of the world worn at the annual Gathering. Kira is told that once repairs are done she can create the panels of the future.
"Gathering Blue" is a story that presents a society that we could find impossible to comprehend or grasp fully and yet possible. It awakens the reader to examine the value of community and acceptance.
[See A Note From The Author About Gathering Blue]
1994 Newbery Award
By Lois Lowry
Imagine a world without colors, or odors, or music. Imagine a world without feelings. Imagine a world where we are all the same; where we are assigned a family or a job. Imagine a world where parents are no longer of value after they have raised their children. Imagine a world without choices.
This is the futuristic, structured world of Jonas, who, at the age of twelve is selected to be the new "Receiver of Memory." The job of the Receiver is to preserve the collective memories of humankind: pain, suffering, feelings and memories, all things that could destroy the sameness of the community. The "Giver," the old Receiver, whose job it is to pass on all memories, trains Jonas.
During his training, Jonas becomes enlightened and realizes "there aren't any choices, if everything's the same." He discovers a world of feelings: fear, love, and "the joy of being an individual" and senses the dark secrets of his perfect world.
"The Giver" is a drivingly forceful and thought provoking read. It compels the reader to question their values and beliefs.
Ages 9 Up
|NUMBER THE STARS
1990 Newbery Award
By Lois Lowry
novel of exceptional compassion and love during the time of the Nazi campaign to "relocate" the Jews of Denmark.
The story is told through the eyes of ten year old Annarmarie Johansen and the struggle of the Danish Resistance to smuggle 7000 Jews to the safety of Sweden.
"Papa, do you remember what you heard the boy say to the soldier? That all of Denmark would be the king’s bodyguard?…."now I think that all of Denmark must be bodyguard for the Jews, as well."
compelling story of "ordinary" people in a time of war and the remarkable strength and tenderness of human decency.
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR about Gathering Blue
I suppose as we hurtle through space, blasting now into another century. All of us think about the what-comes-next part. When I ponder questions that fall into the what-if category, people appear on my blank-slate imagination. Fictional people. This time, for me, it was a girl. I gave her a name - it is always what I do first.
Once she was named, Kira became real to me: human and valuable. And gradually her world became real, too, mysterious as it was.
It makes sense to me that at some time in the distant future, after the world we know has wrecked Itself, as it well may, new kinds of societies will emerge.
Highly technical, tightly structured, rigidly controlled? Maybe. I created such a world when I wrote The Giver.
But it seems possible to me that other kinds of worlds might evolve. How about a society with no technology at all? How about a community of disorder, savagery, and self-interest?
That's where I found Kira. She was sitting on Animal skins, frightened and alone beside a dead body.
Gradually I began to perceive that this girl, and the people who entered her environment as I wrote, were actually a pretty complex society, even though their day-to-day existence was quite primitive. They washed in a stream, hunted animals for food, and left their dead to rot in a field. Yet they had thick volumes of law, some odd vestiges from a past civilization, and even hints of a lost religion.
We who write tend to fall in love with our characters. We create impossible journeys - with extraordinary destinations - for them to take, and we place hideous obstacles in their way. But because we love them, we want them to get through safely, unscathed, and triumphant.
I wanted this imperfect, innocent, and gifted girl not only to make it to the end - but also to make a difference. Creative artists, I believe, have that capacity. And so I made Kira an artist, with the kind of vision and power that artists have. At the conclusion of the book, she holds in her hands the fragile beginning of a peaceful future. I like endings that contain such hope.
Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin