The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.
Author: Lois Lowry
If you let the fact that this is a children’s series stop you from reading it, you will have made one of the greatest mistakes of your life. This quartet is and probably always will be my #1 go-to recommendation to anyone who asks me what they should read next. Most people have heard of The Giver, but few know that there are four books. They are all just as good (if not better?) than the first.
The lessons these books teach are poignant, important, and extraordinarily relevant to today’s political climate. For example, one book features a small society of people who have welcomed outcasts and banded together to support one another and keep the group safe. It is almost a utopian society. Then they start to feel a bit threatened, and the talk about sealing the entrance and denying new people who need help “for the good of the group” starts to spread like poison. Sound familiar in 2017? (Messenger was written in 2004. It was meant for kids…or was it?)
The way Lois Lowry wrote these stories is breathtaking. They are not long books. The language is simple and straightforward. The sentences take what they are saying for granted, so they make you think and then make you wonder why you never thought that way before.