by Lois Lowry
Recommended reading age: 10-18 years
Lexile measure: 760L
The Giver is an engaging and meaningful novel within the young adult fiction genre by American writer Lois Lowry. It follows the young boy Jonas as he grows up in a superficially perfect but actually repressive society. As Jonas begins to push the boundaries of this society and discover the dangerous freedom of the real world for himself, readers are presented with a fascinating discussion of blissful ignorance versus painful truth.
Below are the reasons why we recommended it and some post-reading questions and activities.
Why we recommended
Among other young adult novels that often focus on action and romance, The Giver stands out as a particularly thought-provoking and mature novel. Although many young adult novels describe similarly dystopian societies, The Giver approaches this concept through a sophisticated discussion of morality. Readers are encouraged to reflect on the idea of ‘ignorance is bliss’, and must engage their critical thinking skills to assess whether they agree with Jonas’s struggle for freedom. This makes Lowry’s novel a highly enriching read that will leave readers contemplating its ideas for many days after.
The novel is also well-suited for a wide range of readers (although its more mature content means it is generally suitable only for readers 10+ years of age). Its main subject is Jonas’s coming-of-age and development from innocence to knowledge, a change many young readers will be undergoing themselves as they learn about the world around them. Lois Lowry also promotes a hunger for knowledge and values of courage and independence — important notions to instil in young readers. At the same time, the sophisticated discussion of morality that the author presents and the ambiguous ending makes the novel a worthwhile read for older readers. The relatively simple vocabulary, straightforward plot and digestible length of the novel help convey its complex ideas in a way that is appealing to a range of ages.
Questions and activities for readers
adapted from enseignement.reginaassumpta.qc.ca
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The article is written by Noa Shmueli
Graduated from Taipei European School, Noa is now majoring in English at Columbia University and Trinity College Dublin. An avid reader and writer, she was the Editor-in-Chief of the TES student magazine, PEAK, and have been editing textbooks and essays since 2016.
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