Look, I'm in to the Hunger Games series as much as the next person ( strong female characters! rebellion! teens thinking deep thoughts!)-they're great- but my favorite dystopian children's book will always and forever be The Giver by Lois Lowry.

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In fifth grade, this was The Book To Read if you wanted to be a Cool Kid. Of course, it wasn't just a fad, like putting tacks on your shoes or pogs, The Giver was and is truly great,managing the feat of being entertaining,thought provoking and very readable for young adults.  It was the first book I can remember having intense discussions about, and probably the first book I read that had something in it to discuss. That it had an ambiguous ending* too was mind blowingly cool for me and the future book snobs of Howe Elementary School. It felt so sophisticated and like all great books do, it made me want to seek out more from the author to read.

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Which was a great thing because Lois Lowry's books are all excellent and now classics of YA fiction. From Number the Stars, which tells the story of friends growing up in Copenhagen during the Nazi occupation, to A Summer to Die, a book with the great opening line "It was Molly who drew the line" and also the saddest book EVER as you can tell from the title, Lowry didn't shy away from difficult subjects and as a result her books have stayed with countless young readers.

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She is also an inspiration because the acclaimed author didn't publish her first novel until she was forty years old. Now she is the recipient of numerous awards including two Newberys and an honorary doctorate from Brown University. More importantly, her books are still devoured by young adults and loved by readers of all ages.

*I guess, taking the quartet into account, that the ending isn't that ambiguous, but it felt that way at the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So, what do you think?