Every month we highlight a book for Banned Book Tuesday, some older, some new. This week we look at the Young Adult Dystopian award-winning novel by Lois Lowry, The Giver.
ABOUT The Giver
Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth.
There is no turning back
This Newbery Medal winning young adult story, which is often required reading in middle schools throughout the United States, has drawn a lot of criticism over its content. Although many publications and even the American Library Association have praised this story, many find the subject matter unfit for young audiences. We don’t agree with banning books, so it is our small contribution to provide you with information on these books so that you may decide – for yourself – what you would want (or your children) to read.
“Despite controversy and criticism that the book’s subject material is inappropriate for young children, The Giver won the 1994 Newbery Medal and has sold more than 5.3 million copies.” – Wikipedia
Here’s what the awesome website Banned Books Awareness, has to say. (see link below for the full article)
“During the mid-to late 90’s some of the most common objections were over violent and sexual scenes, infanticide, euthanasia, and “sexual awakening.”
The list of challenges this decade alone comes from Marshall University. A few of the reported incidents, in order of year, are as follows:
2001- Banned for violence, “occult themes”, and sexually explicit material.
2005- Challenged in Blue Springs, Missouri, when parents called the book “lewd” and “twisted.” They demanded the work be removed from 8th-grade reading lists across the district.
2006- Challenged, and later retained, at the Unified School District Elementary School in Seaman, Kansas.
2007- Parents in the Mt. Diablo School District in Concord, California, were offended by descriptions of pill-popping, suicide, and lethal injections given to babies and the elderly.
It is our hope that instead of kowtowing to the 1%, you pick up this novel and give it a read. We also encourage reading along with your child.
ABOUT LOIS LOWRY
Taken from Lowry’s website:
“I’ve always felt that I was fortunate to have been born the middle child of three. My older sister, Helen, was very much like our mother: gentle, family-oriented, eager to please. Little brother Jon was the only boy and had interests that he shared with Dad; together they were always working on electric trains and erector sets; and later, when Jon was older, they always seemed to have their heads under the raised hood of a car. That left me in-between, and exactly where I wanted most to be: on my own. I was a solitary child who lived in the world of books and my own vivid imagination.
Because my father was a career military officer – an Army dentist – I lived all over the world. I was born in Hawaii, moved from there to New York, spent the years of World War II in my mother’s hometown: Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and from there went to Tokyo when I was eleven. High school was back in New York City, but by the time I went to college (Brown University in Rhode Island), my family was living in Washington, D.C.
I married young. I had just turned nineteen – just finished my sophomore year in college – when I married a Naval officer and continued the odyssey that military life requires. California. Connecticut (a daughter born there). Florida (a son). South Carolina. Finally Cambridge, Massachusetts, when my husband left the service and entered Harvard Law School (another daughter; another son) and then to Maine – by now with four children under the age of five in tow. My children grew up in Maine. So did I. I returned to college at the University of Southern Maine, got my degree, went to graduate school, and finally began to write professionally, the thing I had dreamed of doing since those childhood years when I had endlessly scribbled stories and poems in notebooks.
After my marriage ended in 1977, when I was forty, I settled into the life I have lived ever since. Today I am back in Cambridge, Massachusetts, living and writing in a house dominated by a very shaggy Tibetan Terrier named Bandit. For a change of scenery Martin and I spend time in Maine, where we have an old (it was built in 1768!) farmhouse on top of a hill. In Maine I garden, feed birds, entertain friends, and read…
My books have varied in content and style. Yet it seems that all of them deal, essentially, with the same general theme: the importance of human connections. A Summer to Die, my first book, was a highly fictionalized retelling of the early death of my sister, and of the effect of such a loss on a family. Number the Stars, set in a different culture and era, tells the same story: that of the role that we humans play in the lives of our fellow beings.
“I think banning books is a very, very dangerous thing. It takes away an important freedom. Any time there is an attempt to ban a book, you should fight it as hard as you can. It’s okay for a parent to say, ‘I don’t want my child to read this book.’ But it is not okay for anyone to try to make that decision for other people. The world portrayed in The Giver is a world where choice has been taken away. It is a frightening world. Let’s work hard to keep it from truly happening.” – Lois Lowry