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?