Sarah, Plain and Tall

Author: Patricia MacLachlan

Age Range: 8-10

Interest Range: 8-10

Genre: Historical Fiction

Plot: Anna and Caleb’s mother passed away years ago, shortly after Caleb was born. Their house is no longer full of singing, and their father is tired of raising a family on his own. One day he announces that he as been writing to a woman from Maine who is going to come and visit them. She may even stay and be their new mother. Sarah introduces herself to the children through letters, and describes herself as plain and tall. When she shows up, the children are excited at the prospect of such a kind and interesting lady becoming a part of their family. But as much as Sarah enjoys the children and her new life in the frontier, she also misses home: her brother, her aunts, and most of all the ocean. Will Sarah decide to stay in the prairie? Or will she miss the sea so much that she must return home again?

Review: Such a sweet book to touch on the ideas of a deceased mother and what used to happen in families in the time of the American Frontier. Mail-order brides are certainly not something that we think of often today, but at that point in history it was not uncommon for people to place advertisements for wives to join existing families out west. Told from the point of view of the children, this story is sweet and you cannot help but wish for Sarah to decide to stay with them. A great book to show how stepmothers can easily become a loving part of a family that needs to fill a void- not to replace the mother completely, but to help usher in a new time for everyone involved. Also a great story for those who are interested in the American West during the time of expansion.

Themes: Changes at Home, Building New Relationships, Death, Loss, Loneliness

Additional Info:

Awards: Newbery Medal Winner in 1986, Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction 1986, Golden Kite Award 1986 (for excellence in children’s literature)

Main Characters:

Anna: The oldest of two children who have recently lost their mother. She is intelligent, and sometimes cross with her younger brother who she sometimes blames for her mother’s early death (which happened post-childbirth). Anna desperately wants Sarah to decide to stay with them and be their new mother, but remains distant and worried that she will miss her home too much and leave them.

Caleb: The younger of the family’s children, who is now a few years old (maybe 5 or 6?) and loves to hear the story of his birth and stories about their mother. He is inquisitive and sometimes rude and difficult. He also very much wants Sarah to decide to stay- so much that he cries when she leaves for town for the day because he is convinced that he as been bad and she will buy a ticket to go back to Maine.

Jacob Witting: After years of raising two children on his own, Jacob is tired and wants to pursue having another wife. He decides to place an advertisement, describing the family and their situation, and eventually hears from Sarah. The two of them seem to get along very well and are kind to each other.

Sarah: A woman from Maine, who never married. Her brother had recently married and the family house was now being run by his new wife. Sarah desired a change and that is why she answered Jacob’s advertisement. Although she misses the sea most of all, she adjusts to life on the prairie relatively easily.

Bibliographic Info:

MacLachlan. P. (1985). Sarah, Plain and Tall. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Tagline:

Mother has been gone for years and Papa is tired of raising two children on his own. Will Sarah be everything the family is hoping for?

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Movie Review: The Hunger Games

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Directed by: Gary Ross

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Interest Range: 10-adult

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Plot: Katniss has volunteered for the yearly government-enforced fight to the death, called the Hunger Games, to save her younger sister from certain death. She is now headed for a brief life of luxury in the Capital while training and world-building for the game are happening, before she is let loose with 23 other Tributes who will fight until only one remains. The Hunger Games are an establishment that the government has put in place to remind their people of the uprising the Districts once attempted. They are a way for the establishment to assert itself over its people every year, and make sure they acknowledge the power that is held over the people of the 12 Districts. But Katniss is special, she has a very clear reason to survive and is willing to do almost anything to get home- and the president has noticed her rebellious streak. Her life will never be the same.

Review: Since these books now appeal to such a wide audience, I was curious to see how they handled the movie. With such a violent and dark topic as a fight to the death among teenages treated as a garrish reality television show, this very easily could have been a R-rated movie. But they did a really good job of making it the least violent possible. Rarely do you see blood- and the most that is seen is from wounds like Katniss’s burn and Peeta’s cut. The most violent scenes are distorted, or sound is removed, so the viewer has an extra degree of separation from the action. Katniss and Peeta’s love story is not graphic, and at times isn’t even obvious (I watched this film with someone who had never read the books and often had to fill him in on the motives of each of the characters). I really do believe that children younger than 13 could watch this film and be ok. I think like with much dystopian writing, much of the more disturbing deeper message will go over kids’ heads due to lack of world experience. And if questions are asked, hopefully a parent will not shy away from having that conversation.

Themes: Dystopia, Inner Strength, Overcoming Challenges, Building New Relationships

Additional Info:

First in a film trilogy based on the books by Suzanne Collins. She was also involved in the writing for this film’s screenplay.

Main Characters:

Katniss Everdeen: A 16-year-old girl who is determined to survive the Hunger Games and get back to her family. She has very mixed up feelings regarding her hunting partner, Gale, and now Peeta, who has become her partner in the Hunger Games. Publicly, Peeta and Katniss are pretending to have feelings for each other, but by the end it’s unclear if everyone is still pretending- or if Peeta ever was.

Peeta Melark: The baker’s son, also from District 12. He is Katniss’s male counterpart in the Hunger Games, but obviously not as skilled at survival. He has been in love with Katniss since they were small children, and decides to make that public and play it up for popularity and the help and support of sponsors during the games.

Haymitch: District 12’s only past winner, he is given the task of mentoring all of their Tributes. Since they’ve never had another winner, one could see how this might be a very depressing task. But this year, he sees promise in Katniss and the possibility of a star-crossed lovers storyline. He manages to come out of his drunken haze to help win sponsors for the two Tributes and keep them alive.

Gale: Katniss’s hunting partner back home. Although they’ve never spoken of feelings for each other, it becomes clear that Katniss’s heart seems to lie with him. He’s promised to take care of her sister and mother while she is away.

Bibliographic Info:

Ross, G. (Director), Jacobson, N. (Producer), & Kilik, J. (Producer). (2012). The Hunger Games [Motion picture]. United States: Lionsgate, Color Force.

Tagline:

“The World Will Be Watching”

The Sisters Grimm

Author: Michael Buckley

Age Range: 10-12 (Kirkus)

Interest Range: 8-12

Genre: Fantasy, Mystery

Plot: Sabrina and Daphne are pros at breaking out of foster homes. Ever since their parents disappeared, they’ve been escaping from each bad situation and getting back to the orphanage as quick as possible. But this time it’s different. This time, the woman they’re going to be living with claims to be their real grandmother. But that can’t be true, because Sabrina and Daphne have known for years that their grandmother is dead. That’s what their parents said. And this lady also seems to believe that fairy tales are real. Not only real, but that she’s surrounded by them. Granny Relda believes that the town of Ferry Port Landing is crawling with fairy tales, and that it is her job to sort out all of these Everafters’ mysteries. Is she really their grandmother? Will she be able to help the girls find their parents? And just WHAT is going on with all these fairy tale reminiscent characters? Is anyone in this town sane?

Review: Being a huge fan of fairy tales, I absolutely loved this book and the others in the series that I have read so far (at this point I’m on #4). Sabrina and Daphne are two very different girls, and both very set in their ways. Sabrina is skeptical, often so much that it can blind her to the truth. Daphne is trusting, and wants very much to settle into this amazing new existence that she has found. As the books progress, they begin to deal with the issue of prejudice. Sabrina believes that all of the Everafters are horrible and not to be trusted. This often comes back to bite her and is a big part of the third book. I’m curious to see how this plays out over the course of the series. They also deal a lot with the idea of right and wrong with respect to the use of magic, which is interesting since magic is such a popular topic in much middle grade fiction right now. Lovers of fairy tales will have more fun with this series than those who are not as familiar with folklore. Many references will go over readers’ heads if they don’t already have a working knowledge of the best known fairy tale stories.

Themes: Changes at Home, Homelessness, Building New Relationships,

Additional Info:

Series Info: This is book 1 in a 9-book series, which has been completely published at this writing.

Main Characters:

Sabrina Grimm: The older of the two sisters, Sabrina is focused on finding their parents and interested in nothing else. She refuses to believe that this new woman is their grandmother and cannot believe that she would be silly enough to believe that fairy tales are real.

Daphne Grimm: Daphne wants very much to believe that Granny Relda is really their relative and that Ferry Port Landing is really full of Everafters. She delves into the detective work and wants very much to take on the family job of keeping the Everafters in line.

Granny Relda: The mother of the girls’ father, she really is their grandmother. Relda wants to convince the girls to believe her and have them help her with her detective work. She is slightly odd, but who wouldn’t be when they’ve spent their life surrounded by real-life fairy tales? She also wants to find her son and his wife, but is taking a more careful approach, which is not enough for Sabrina.

Bibliographic Info:

Buckley, M. (2007). The Fairy-Tale Detectives. New York: Amulet Books.

Tagline:

The Grimm sisters are about to realize that their family history is not as simple as they thought. When faced with real-life fairy tales, what would you do?

The Red Pyramid

Author: Rick Riordan

Age Range: 10-18 (Kirkus)

Interest Range: 10-14

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Plot: Carter and Sadie have grown up as practically strangers. When their mother died, their father continued traveling the world and studying Egyptian history with Carter in tow while Sadie stayed with their grandparents in England. On Christmas eve, the only time of the year when the three of them are together, their father manages to let lose an ancient Egyptian god who wants him dead. Carter and Sadie are amazed to find that the Egyptian gods are not only real, but after their own family. And now, with the disappearance of their dad they have to learn to work together for the first time in their lives if they have any hope of saving him. As their adventure advances, the brother and sister realize their own powers and unlock the history of their family that goes all the way back to the time of the pharaohs. Can they learn to work together in time to save their dad and the world as we know it?

Review: Riordan seems to have cornered the niche of Greek and Egyptian mythology at the middle grade level. His writing moves quickly, and he throws in lots of history and facts about the different gods and the history and culture of these regions. It’s easy to see why readers enjoy his multiple series, but I can also see how they might get old quickly. Since I have a love for mythology, these books appeal to me and my excitement at seeing young kids excited about reading in this genre. These books could be a good starting place for teaching mythology: a fast paced story to draw them into the topic, and then other materials could be introduced for more depth with different myths or gods.

Themes: Changes at Home, Building New Relationships, Magic, Coming of Age

Additional Info:

Main Characters:

Carter Kane: 14 years old, and often called “Wikipedia brain” by his sister, Carter is smart. He also happens to be a very strong magician, although he doesn’t know it at the beginning of this story. Carter’s main concern is finding and saving their father. Of note: Carter (and Sadie) have parents of two different races. His father was black and his mother was white. Carter’s skin color makes this fact much more obvious than his sister’s. People often don’t understand them to be related.

Sadie Kane: 12 years old, Sadie was born and raised for most of her life in Los Angeles but has been living with her grandparents for the past few years in England. She does not see her father often, and does not get along well with her brother because of a fight at her sixth birthday party.

Muffin/Bast: The cat that Sadie’s father gave to her when he lost custody of her, Muffin is actually the goddess Bast in housecat form. She eventually makes her presence known and helps Carter and Sadie in their adventures.

Bibliographic Info:

Riordan, R. (2010). The Red Pyramid. New York: Hyperion Books.

Tagline:

What if one day you found out that your dad was an Egyptian magician? What if all of a sudden you were one too?

The High-Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate

 

Author: Scott Nash

Age Range: 10-12 (Kirkus reviews)

Interest Range: 9-12

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure Story

Plot: Welcome to the world of avian pirates! The fearsome Captain Blue Jay has been leading his air ship, the Grosbeak, and crew on a very successful run of pillaging and plundering. But everything changes when he decides to keep an egg that they’ve found as a prize for his collection. The presence of the egg throws the crew into disarray- loyal Junco, the navigator,  has been leaving her post to try and hatch it! She convinces Jay that this egg is truly special and will bring them adventure, so the entire crew is enlisted to keep the egg safe. When the egg finally hatches, they find the Junco was right- this adventure will be like nothing they’ve ever dreamed. Along the way, learn a few new pirate songs and let the Jolly Robin fly!

Review: This book was definitely great for pirate lovers. A true pirate story all the way, complete with legends , and sword fights, and death, but made more kid-friendly because the characters are all birds (and a few other animals). This story will capture the mind of any child fascinated by pirates or birds, and the author has done a great job of describing details like how their ship flies through the air. Pirate-obsessed younger readers with strong abilities will enjoy this story too, and won’t need much help from parents to get through it. A unique option for the reader who wants nothing but adventure, this might help them bridge the gap into the fantasy world.

Themes: Coming of Age, Changes at Home, Bullying, Loss, Death

Additional Info:

Main Characters:

Blue Jay: The captain of the Grosbeak, and infamous pirate. There are many legends about his ferocity, but those who know him best know otherwise. He’s survived six mutinies, and piloted multiple ships, but this next adventure will go down in the books as his biggest achievement yet.

Junco: The navigator for the Grosbeak. It is her instinct that tells them the new egg is important and should be hatched. More loyal than any other shipmate, everyone is surprised by her crazed behavior surrounding the egg. Junco becomes a kind of surrogate mother to the hatchling.

Gabriel: The hatchling, who turns out to be a gosling. Blue Jay refers to him often as a godling, since in their world geese are often thought of as gods.

Bibliographic Info:

Nash, S. (2012). The High-Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate. Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press.

Tagline:

Pirates can sail the high seas, why not the high skies? Join Captain Blue Jay and his crew on the greatest adventure a bunch of pirate birds has ever seen!

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

 

Author:Brian Selznick

Age Range: 9-12

Interest Range: 9-12

Genre: Historical Fiction

Plot: Hugo was destined to be a clockmaker. His father was one before him, and his fingers seem to just know exactly what to do with all of those tiny metal cogs and springs. But one day, a terrible accident happens and Hugo must go live with his uncle, the man who maintains all of the clocks at the train station. Over time, Hugo learns how to keep the clocks running himself, which is good because eventually his uncle disappears too. While living on his own and maintaining the clocks so no one will notice that his uncle is gone, Hugo begins to repair a fantastic old automaton that he believes will hold a secret message from his father. But after meeting Isabelle and uncovering the real message of the automaton, Hugo will embark on a journey he never even dreamed of. And just maybe he’ll manage to find his place in the world after all.

Review: Paris in the 1930s and a discussion of the early days of film- I had no idea that this book would hold so much! I knew it had won the Caldecott, and I’ve sold it to many readers, but before this I’ve never sat down to actually experience more of the story than flipping through the beautiful drawings. The blending of full blown picture book and text make this a magical experience in itself, often giving you the sensation of sitting back and being at the movies. I completely understand now why this was made into a film. It practically screams for it the entire time you’re reading it. Hugo is an interesting character. He hates stealing and tries not to do it any more than necessary, but often his story is launched forward when he gets caught for doing something he hates. His ability with clockwork gives him hope for a better future than running through the walls of the train station, but without guidance he has no idea how to get there. Isabelle is in a similar yet different situation: no parents and prone to stealing things and picking locks, but being raised by people who truly love her. Hugo and Isabelle are perfect for each other.

Themes: Coming of Age, Overcoming Challenges, Making new Friends

Additional Info:

Adaptations: This book was made into the movie Hugo by Martin Scorsese in 2011, his first in 3D, which won 5 Oscars

Main Characters:

Hugo Cabret: An orphan, who is secretly living in the Paris train station, maintaining the clocks like his uncle taught him in the hopes of not being caught and sent to the orphanage. In his spare time he is repairing the clockwork automaton that his father had found in a museum attic. Even though he knows otherwise, Hugo has convinced himself that if he can get it working he will receive a message from his father telling him what to do now that he is on his own.

Issabelle: A young girl that Hugo meets in the train station. Reluctantly, they become friends. But they are both prone to stealing and lying, so the relationship is rough. But Isabelle is very smart, always borrowing books from the train station bookshop to read and learn about everything she can and sneaking into movies for fun.

Papa George: The keeper of the toy shop in the train station where Hugo frequently steals clockwork toys to get parts for his automaton. One day George catches Hugo in the act and takes the notebook that contains everything he knows about his automaton. In desperation to get the notebook back, Hugo begins working for George. Also, Papa George is one of Isabelle’s godparents and caretakers.

Mama Jeanne: Isabelle’s godmother and George’s wife, Jeanne has been keeping secrets about her husband for years. She has locked away all the things that will remind George of his real past in an effort to protect him.

Bibliographic Info:

Selznick, B. (2007). The Invention of Hugo Cabret. New York: Scholastic, Inc.

Tagline:

Sometimes the machinery of the world just lines up, and everything falls into place. Even for an orphan who lives in a train station.

The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman

Age Range: 10-18 (Kirkus Reviews)

Interest Range: 10-adult

Genre: Fantasy

Plot: A young boy’s life is changed when his parents are murdered one night in their sleep. Although he is only a toddler, the boy manages to escape his house unnoticed by the killer and find safety in the local graveyard. There, the ghosts gather to decide his fate: feeling pity on him, they decide to raise him as one of their own. Bod, as he is eventually named (short for Nobody), grows up happily in his adopted home and loves the spirits like family. But there comes a time when he wants to know about the outside world. As he attends school and tries to learn the ways of the living, there are many dangers that threaten him.  All this time, on the outside of the wall, the terrible Jack has still been hunting him and trying to finish the job he started on that fateful night.Will Bod ever be able to live among the living, or will he be forced to remain in the graveyard spending the rest of his days already among the dead?

Review: This story is Gaiman’s modern day retelling of the Jungle Book, with the added twist of the supernatural. In reality quite a frightening story, involving murder, ghosts, and very tricky evil men, Gaiman manages to pull this off as a story very accessible to younger readers. The ghosts are kind, sympathetic and nurturing, and in all really the most comforting characters in the book- whereas the humans are the ones to look out for. Bod is an orphan, growing up in a place where he does not fit it, and then trying to reshape himself to fit into the world from which he came. This story will resonate with middle grade readers who also feel that they don’t quite fit the norms of their surroundings. Great for lovers of fantasy or horror.

Themes: Coming of Age, Building New Relationships, Trying to Fit In

Additional Info:

Main Characters:

Nobody Owens: Bod manages to escape certain death as a toddler, only to find refuge in a graveyard and be raised by the spirits who call it home. His curiosity regarding his real home, the human world, ends up creating some real danger- since the murderer of his parents is still out there lurking and trying to finish the job.

Every Man Jack: The man who murdered Bod’s parents, and who is now hunting him.

The Owenses: The ghost couple who decide to “adopt” Bod and take responsibility for his upbringing.

Silas: A mysterious being who seems to navigate both the human and spirit worlds. He is Bod’s protector.

Scarlett Amber Perkins: A young girl, roughly Bod’s age, who becomes his friend when her family begins frequenting the beautiful graveyard. She eventually leaves him because her family decides to move to Scotland for her father’s work. She returns to England with her mother when she is 15, and befriends a scholar who frequents the old graveyard.

Mr. Frost: a friendly scholar who is deeply interested in the old graveyard. He befriends Scarlett and her mother upon their return to England. But Mr. Frost is eventually discovered to be much more than what he seems.

Bibliographic Info:

Gaiman, N. (2008). The Graveyard Book. New York: HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Tagline:

What would it be like to grow up in a graveyard? Living and breathing, but only among spirits and ghosts?

The Hunger Games

 

Author: Suzanne Collins

Age Range: 11-18 (Kirkus Reviews)

Interest Range: 10-Adult (based on popularity)

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, Dystopian Fiction

Plot: Once, the Districts rebelled against the Capitol. As punishment, all 12 now have to compete in the yearly Hunger Games. Each District must send two Tributes, one boy and one girl, to compete to the death in the Capitol. The winner will be rich beyond their wildest dreams, but at what cost? To make things worse, the rest of the citizens are required to watch the televised coverage (think Reality TV-style) as their loved ones battle it out and eventually die. This year, Katniss Everdeen has done something unique: against better judgment, she has volunteered to participate in the games to save another citizen from being slaughtered. But will her hunting and survival skills be enough to keep her alive against 22 bloodthirsty strangers and one boy to whom she owes her own life?

Review: A face-paced dystopian novel, this book is simply addictive. I can completely understand why so many people have wanted to read it. Katniss is a strong character, with plenty of flaws, placed in a very precarious situation and the reader will sympathize with her immediately. The story itself is violent (young people being forced to fight to the death is going to be violent no matter how you describe it), and the feelings and emotions that Katniss experiences and describes are things that tweens may only have an inkling of, but I do not think that it is 100% inappropriate for tween readers. Tweens want to read up when the books are popular, and I genuinely think that this book would raise questions for an inquisitive 10-year-old, while flying over the heads of those who are not yet ready to “get it”. Those individuals probably will not enjoy the book as much as their peers anyway and wonder to themselves what all the fuss was about while on the outside they gush about how amazing it was. Would I choose this book for a middle grade reader? No. But would I try to prevent them from having access to it and reading it if they were interested? Also, no.

Themes: Dystopian society, Death, Socioeconomic Issues, Freedom, Relationships

Additional Info:

Main Characters:

Katniss Everdeen: 16-years-old, a hunter who provides for her mother and sister on a daily basis. It is her (illegal) hunting skills that have kept the family alive and well since the death of her father. Katniss volunteers for the Hunger Games when her younger sister is picked at the Reaping.

Gabe: Katniss’s hunting partner, an 18-year-old boy. It is his last year for eligibility for the Reaping. Just before the ceremony, he suggests that he and Katniss could run away together into the wild and survive together with their combined skills.

Peeta Mellark: The Baker’s son, and the other tribute from District 12 for this year’s Hunger Games. He has secretly been in love with Katniss since they were small children. He and Katniss align as “Star-crossed lovers” to gain favor with sponsors and earn help in the competition- but for him it’s more than a ruse.

Bibliographic Info:

Collins, S. (2008). The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, Inc.

Tagline:

Katniss is a survivor. She has to be.

The Giver

 

Author: Lois Lowry

Age Range: 12-17 (various retail websites)

Interest Range: 10-Adult

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Plot: Jonas lives in a perfect society. Everyone is equal. Everyone is at peace. And since no one has known life any other way, they are all happy. Every December, children advance in age with their peer group, and this year Jonas’s peer group will be attending the Ceremony of the Twelves. He will be receiving his life-long work assignment and entering a year of training before becoming an officially trained adult the following December. By now, most kids know or at least have some idea of what they will be assigned- for the last three years the Elevens have been required to complete volunteer hours at whatever careers interest them, and this usually gives the Selection Committee the information they need to assign a fitting career. But Jonas has been all over the map, and although there are a few jobs he would be disappointed to receive he has no idea what title will ultimately be chosen for him. Eventually, his new assignment will help him to learn things about his “peaceful” community that make his skin crawl. Will he be able to handle the job of Receiver, or will he fail like the girl before him?

Review: The level of depth in this book is amazing. Another “tween book” that was obviously not written for the 8-12 age range but it often placed there because of the age of the protagonist. I can report with certainty that when I had to read this book in the 5th grade there is no way  I absorbed all of the levels and implications in this novel. Jonas’s society shuns anything that might give you a sense of individualism- they’ve even managed to remove all of the colors.  Anyone that breaks their mold is Released. The citizens of the town are lied to on a regular basis and they often lie to themselves- how else could they live with themselves after “Releasing” small children and old people? They don’t know any better, but does that make it ok? And the amazing burden placed on the Receiver of Memory: to be the retainer for all of the world’s memories of the time before the community existed. To be the only person who knows color, happiness, and love alongside destruction, pain, and war is a burden that no child can completely comprehend or appreciate. As an adult I can only acknowledge that it would be an insurmountable level of pain to have to know those things and have no one to share them with; I cannot even begin to fathom the actual pain itself. A wonderful book that I would never try to dissuade someone from reading, but I would definitely urge older audiences to revisit it to gain a deeper level of understanding from the story.

Themes: Individualism, The Right to Choice, Freedom, Tough Issues, Dystopia

Additional Info:

Awards: Newbery Award Winner for 1994

Main Characters:

Jonas: An Eleven who is about to turn Twelve and receive his official work assignment. Jonas is interested in everything and even possesses a special ability to “see-beyond”. But his uniqueness makes him feel like an outsider in the community, and this is reflected in his assignment to Receiver of Memory. Jonas will be responsible for holding the memories of all mankind prior to life in their community was established.

The Giver: The previous holder of all those memories, The Giver must now translate those memories to Jonas. When his job is done, he will be Released from the community.

Gabriel: The newchild that Jonas’s father brings home for extra care. Gabe is having trouble advancing as the newchildren (newborns) should and is threatened with being Released. Jonas’s father believes that with some extra attention this can be avoided. It is eventually Jonas who is able to help the baby sleep through the night and begin to make progress with his growth and development.

Asher: Jonas’s close childhood friend. When the two of them receive their assignments, their friendship becomes strained and they become distanced.

Fiona: Jonas’s favorite female friend. She is kind and loving and is assigned to the House of the Old, where she will help to Release the oldest members of society from the community and into Elsewhere.

Bibliographic Info:

Lowry, L. (1993). The Giver. New York: Random House, Inc.

Tagline:

What would you be willing to give up to live in the perfect society?

Forays into Modern Technology: The Shapshot Book Trailer

This was produced using the free software available at Animoto. Very easy to use and creates quite the professional-looking product. The free version keeps you to 30 seconds, but I know from this experience I’m tempted to use it for much more.

Enjoy!

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman