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Lowry, Lois

Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
ISBN 0395645662
(9 booktalks)
Booktalk #1

Jonas has a very functional family in a very safe community. He is waiting for the Ceremony of the Twelves, when the children are assigned their vocations by the Elders of the Community. Some will be Doctors, some Food Preparation workers, and some Birth Mothers. Jonas is assigned to be the Receiver, a very honored assignment. He is given a list of rules to follow and begins to train with the former Receiver, who is now the Giver. The Giver begins to give Jonas memories, memories of all the people back and back for many generations. The people in Jonas' community have only the memories of their own generation; it is safer that way. They cannot handle the memories of war or hunger, so the Receiver keeps these memories for everyone. The Giver gives Jonas memories of joy and of pain, memories of snow and of love and of colors, which the others can no longer see. Jonas in turn gives some of his soothing memories to the young male Gabriel his father has brought home to nurture and with the memories succeeds in helping Gabriel to sleep well when nothing else works. Jonas and the Giver decide that they must return the memories to the people of the community, so they create an elaborate plan of escape. Their plan, however, is shattered when Jonas learns that Gabriel will soon be released from the community. Jonas cannot let this happen, so he flees the community with Gabriel, leaving the Giver to help the people deal with the memories that will return to them when Jonas is gone. As he goes farther from the community, he begins to see things from his memories and eventually has memories of his own as he reaches a new community where there is color and music.
(Linda Wolfgram,, Middle/High School Media Specialist ,Benton Community Schools, Van Horne, IA)

Booktalk #2

Jonas was an eleven.  He believed that his community was one of total happiness and perfection.  During the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas is assigned his role in the community.  He is to become the new Receiver of Memory.  This position is considered to be one of honor, but in actuality it is by far the most difficult job of all.  As the Elder, the Giver, begins to train Jonas by transferring memories to him, Jonas begins to experience things ­ sunshine, pain, and love.  He comes to know about war and death, and as the Receiver, Jonas holds all the memories of this small society to protect its members.  Little does Jonas know that these memories will reveal the ugly truth about his futuristic society, the truth about his father, and the truth about “Release.”  Follow along with Jonas as he struggles with the weight of hypocrisy and searches for a place called “Elsewhere.”  (Teresa Reid,

Booktalk #3

Imagine living in a world with no emotion, color, or holidays. Well that is where I live. Hello. My name is Asher. I am one of Jonas' best friends. We have known each other ever since we were twos, but our friendship started to break up about a year ago. It all started at the ceremony of the twelves when Jonas was assigned. Ever since Jonas' first meeting with the giver, he has been different. He doesn't have time for me anymore and the time we spend together is wasted because he always tries to explain weird things like color and love. I don't know what goes on in these meetings but it would change everyone's life forever. What happens in the meetings? Why does everyone's life change? Read Lois Lowry's THE GIVER to find out. (Jennifer D., 8th grade student, Rundlett Middle School, Concord, New Hampshire)

Booktalk #4

What do you want to be when you grow up? Well, Jonas has no choice. In the Community, every person is assigned a role based on his/her strengths and weaknessess. While this may be a convienent way of organizing society, it changes Jonas and his family's way of life forever. As he adjusts to the role he is assigned, Jonas must face difficult decisions about the aspects of life he has never known. This gripping story will challenge your ideas about personal choice and the roles we hold as members of a society. What role would you be assigned?  (Shellean Morgan,

Booktalk #5

Jonas is eleven and is turning twelve and couldn’t be more excited. He wants a great job that doesn’t require too much work, but when he finds out that his job is one of the most important jobs in the town, he is very mad. He is titled the new receiver of memory! He has to go through pain and happiness in order for him to be great. He starts training with the Giver. He receives memory of all kinds. He receives color, snow, warmth, and a war that he cannot handle. Jonas and the Giver want everyone to have memory in the town because only he and the Giver have memory. They come up with a plan to help everyone receive memory.  Jonas and his family are taking care of a baby named Gabrial. When he finds out that Gabrial is going to be released (killed) he and the Giver have to come up with another plan to help everyone receive memory and save the baby. What will the plan be? Will the plan work? What will happen with the baby and Jonas? Read The Giver to find out.  (Madeline, student)

Booktalk #6

Jonas lived in a world that was perfect to him…until he found out the truth.  An eleven year old boy named Jonas lived in a community in the future.  He has a sister named Lily and a mother and father.  Everything in this community is the same, although Jonas doesn’t realize this until later.  There is a committee that pairs up women and men for marriage.  Once that couple is married, they can request children, but only two, one girl and one boy.  Every family unit is the same.  They have practical furniture, practical everything.  Jonas is awaiting his twelve year old ceremony.  This ceremony is a big deal.  This is the ceremony where the twelve year olds are assigned their jobs for their community.  These jobs will be what they do until they are “released” to the Old community.  Every child is studied carefully so that their job fits them perfectly.  In Jonas’ family unit, his father has the job of Nurturer which takes care of all of the newborn children until they are ready to be placed.  His mother has a prominent position at the Department of Justice.   On the day of the ceremony, Jonas is given the assignment of Receiver of Memory.  He is very nervous about this assignment.  He receives a folder with the rules and is to begin after his schooling is over every day.  He goes to the Annex where he meets the previous Receiver.  He asks what he should call him and the old man says, “You can call me The Giver.”  The Giver explained to Jonas that the Receiver of Memory holds all of the memories for the community.  Those memories go back, and back, and back.  There is a lot riding on Jonas being the new Receiver.  The last Receiver of Memory was released and it was a big disappointment for the community.  When the training began, Jonas would take off his shirt and lay face down on the bed.  The Giver would put his hands on Jonas’ back and he would ‘transmit’ memories to Jonas.  For the first time, Jonas knew what snow and cold were.  He found out what hills looked like, what grandparents were, what love was.  He also learned about warfare, pain, hunger, and loneliness.  He began to get frustrated.  He wondered why the community couldn’t have choices when he saw what colors were.  This is when he learned that his whole community and life is lived in sameness.  Jonas was beginning to understand that being the Receiver was a great honor, but a lonely existence.  He could learn about things that others couldn’t but he couldn’t share his findings or feelings with anyone.  Jonas began to question the Giver why things couldn’t be changed.   (Shannon Cyrus, Student of ACTC)

Booktalk #7

So, what do you think, is the truth all that it is cracked up to be?  Is honesty really the best policy?   Will the truth really set you free?  In Lois Lowry's fictional fantasy book The Giver, Jonas encounters the truth and has to decide for himself it's place in his life.  Jonas was going to be a twelve soon, and that meant he would get his assignment in the community and start his training.   Jonas was apprehensive about what his assignment might be.  He knew the elders monitored the children and chose wisely each persons role in the community, making the best fit for the person and the community.  What he was not prepared for was the assignment he did receive!   It was one of highest honor, but he was soon to discover that high honor came at a high price.  His horizons were expanded, his experiences enhanced, his knowledge grew, his emotions soared, he saw things in a different light, and all the while his burden increased.   His assignment was to be the receiver and as the receiver he was faced with the truth.  Something not everyone can handle.   But now that he had the truth what would he do with it?   Could he ever be the same?  Could you?  Read The Giver and find out how knowing the truth could change your whole life!  (Andrea Richards,, college student)

Booktalk #8

Jonas is an Eleven. Eleven Nineteen, to be specific. I have caused your confusion. I apologize to my community.

Jonas is the nineteenth child born that year. This year, he is looking forward to the most important ceremony of his life this year, the Ceremony of Twelve. In this Ceremony, he will receive his assignment. Will he be a Pilot? A Landscape Worker? A Doctor? A Nurturer? As it turns out, he is not assigned. He is selected to be the receiver of all of the memories of the Community, a great honor.

Jonas finds out that he has a special gift, different than the Sameness in the Community. He possesses the gift of “seeing beyond,” which means he can see color.  The Giver, who was the former receiver, has the gift of “hearing beyond.” What do you think that might mean?

As Jonas works with the Giver, he begins to ask questions about the Sameness of the Community and this leads to a choice he must make for his and the Community’s future. I won’t give away the ending, but if you choose this book, tell me what you think happened.  (Melissa Bowman,, Armstrong
Middle School)

Booktalk #9

This story is about a boy name Jonas living with his mom dad and little sister. Jonas is living in a controlled environment you cant see color feel snow or have  any emotions. Now Jonas has turned 12 and receives a job as a receiver of knowledge. Receiver of knowledge receives memories the memories are like gifts from the giver like snow sun burn sledding and a whole lot more. Then he decides if he likes his tow or not ?  I recommend the giver because it is a really good book. It also exciting  (Jordan P;, K-12 student)

SUBJECTS:     Science fiction


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