He seeks reassurance from his father, a Nurturer who cares for the new babies, who are genetically engineered; thus, Jonas's parents are not biologically related to him , and his mother, an official in the Department of Justice. He is told that the Elders, who assign the children their careers, are always right.
The day finally arrives, and Jonas is assembled with his classmates in order of birth. All of the Community is present, and the Chief Elder presides. Jonas is stunned when his turn is passed by, and he is increasingly conspicuous and agonized until he is alone. The Chief Elder then explains that Jonas has not been given a normal assignment, but instead has been selected as the next Receiver of Memory, to be trained by the current one, who sits among the Elders, staring at Jonas, and who shares with the boy unusual pale eyes.
The position of Receiver has high status and responsibility, and Jonas quickly finds himself growing distant from his classmates, including his close friends Asher and Fiona. The rules Jonas receives further separate him, as they allow him no time to play with his friends, and require him to keep his training secret. They also allow him to lie and withhold his feelings from his family, things generally not allowed in the regimented Community.
Once he begins it, Jonas's training makes clear his uniqueness, for the Receiver of Memory is just that — a person who bears the burden of the memories from all of history, and who is the only one allowed access to books beyond schoolbooks, and the rulebook issued to every household. The current Receiver, who asks Jonas to call him the Giver, begins the process of transferring those memories to Jonas, for the ordinary person in the Community knows nothing of the past.
These memories, and his being the only Community member allowed access to books about the past, give the Receiver perspective to advise the Council of Elders. The first memory is of sliding down a snow-covered hill on a sled, pleasantness made shocking by the fact that Jonas has never seen a sled, or snow, or a hill — for the memories of even these things has been given up to assure security and conformity called Sameness.
Even color has been surrendered, and the Giver shows Jonas a rainbow. Less pleasantly, he gives Jonas memories of hunger and war, things alien to the boy. Hanging over Jonas's training is the fact that the Giver once before had an apprentice, named Rosemary, but the boy finds his parents and the Giver reluctant to discuss what happened to her. Jonas's father is concerned about an infant at the Nurturing Center who is failing to thrive, and has received special permission to bring him home at night. The baby's name will be Gabriel if he grows strong enough to be assigned to a family.
He has pale eyes, like Jonas and the Giver, and Jonas becomes attached to him, especially when Jonas finds that he is capable of being given memories. If Gabriel does not increase in strength, he will be "released from the Community" —in common speech, taken Elsewhere. This has happened to an off-course air pilot, to chronic rule breakers, to elderly people, and to the apprentice Rosemary. After Jonas casually speculates as to life in Elsewhere, the Giver educates him by showing the boy hidden-camera video of Jonas's father doing his job: There is no Elsewhere for those not wanted by the Community — those said to have been "released" have been killed.
Since he considers his father a murderer, Jonas initially refuses to return home, but the Giver convinces him that without the memories, the people of the Community cannot know that what they have been trained to do is wrong. Rosemary was unable to endure the darker memories of the past and instead chose release, injecting the poison into her own body.
Together, Jonas and the Giver come to the understanding that the time for change is now — that the Community has lost its way and must have its memories returned. The only way to make this happen is for Jonas to leave the Community, at which time the memories he has been given will flood back into the people, as did the relatively few memories Rosemary had been given.
Jonas wants the Giver to escape with him, but the Giver insists that he will be needed to help the people manage the memories, or they will destroy themselves. Once the Community is re-established along new lines, the Giver plans to join his daughter, Rosemary, in death.
The Giver devises a plot in which Jonas will escape beyond the boundaries of the Communities. The Giver will make it appear as if Jonas drowned in the river so that the search for him will be limited. The plan is scuttled when Jonas learns that Gabriel will be "released" the following morning, and he feels he has no choice but to escape with the infant.
Their escape is fraught with danger, and the two are near death from cold and starvation when they reach the border of what Jonas believes must be Elsewhere. Using his ability to "see beyond," a gift that he does not quite understand, he finds a sled waiting for him at the top of a snowy hill. He and Gabriel ride the sled down towards a house filled with colored lights and warmth and love and a Christmas tree, and for the first time he hears something he believes must be music.
The ending is ambiguous, with Jonas depicted as experiencing symptoms of hypothermia. This leaves his and Gabriel's future unresolved. However, their fate is revealed in Gathering Blue and in Messenger , companion novels written much later. You don't need to ask that question. While critical reception of The Giver has been mixed, the novel has found a home in "City Reads" programs, library-sponsored reading clubs on citywide or larger scales. Some reviewers have commented that the story lacks originality and is not likely to stand up to the sort of probing literary criticism used in "serious" circles, while others argue that books appealing to a young-adult audience are critical for building a developing reader's appetite for reading.
Sixth-grader Margaret Simon talks to God about faith, bras, periods and boys, in between bosom-building exercises and preteen chants of: In exchange, she helps the rats, who are a sophisticated and literate society, as they look to cast off the yoke of human dominance. The Community lacks any color, memory, climate, or terrain , all in an effort to preserve structure, order, and a true sense of equality beyond personal individuality. I was deeply touched. When she finds herself falling in love with Prince Char, she knows she can't marry him because anyone who discovers her secret could force her to destroy the kingdom — so Ella must choose between her own happiness and the safety of her country. Nine-year-old Peter Hatcher has it rough:
Johnson, Haynes, and Nastasis write that, although the majority of students said either they did not understand the novel or did not like the novel, there were students who were able to connect with Jonas and to empathize with him. Natalie Babbitt of The Washington Post was more forgiving, calling Lowry's work "a warning in narrative form", saying:.
The story has been told before in a variety of forms— Ray Bradbury 's Fahrenheit comes to mind—but not, to my knowledge, for children. It's well worth telling, especially by a writer of Lowry's great skill. If it is exceedingly fragile—if, in other words, some situations do not survive that well-known suspension of disbelief —well, so be it. The Giver has things to say that cannot be said too often, and I hope there will be many, many young people who will be willing to listen. A study found that The Giver was a common read-aloud book for sixth-graders in schools in San Diego County, California.
Subsequent productions of Coble's one-hour script have been presented in several American theatres. In the years following, members of the partnership changed and the production team grew in size, but little motion was seen toward making the film. Here's a printable version of the list, too.
And if your favorite book is missing, please tell us about it — nicely! Your purchase helps support NPR programming. Sherman Alexie's humorous, semiautobiographical novel, illustrated by Ellen Forney, follows year-old Junior — poor, skinny and with a freakishly big head — as he leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation for a mostly white school in a nearby town.
Alexie captures the pain and awkwardness of adolescence while also meditating on the devastation that poverty, racism and alcoholism have wreaked on Native American communities. Caddie Woodlawn isn't interested in being a lady. Living on the Wisconsin frontier with her pioneer family, the free-spirited tomboy — inspired by the memories of Carol Ryrie Brink's grandmother — runs wild, causes trouble, has adventures and befriends the local Indian tribe.
For Esperanza, a young girl growing up in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago, life is an endless landscape of concrete and rundown tenements. She tells her story in a series of vignettes, as she tries to rise above the hopelessness of her surroundings and come into her own power. The first young adult novel from the National Book Award-winning novelist Louise Erdrich, The Birchbark House follows Omakayas, a girl from the Ojibwa tribe, as she nurses her family during a devastating smallpox epidemic and discovers a mysterious secret from her past.
Author Harper Lee explores racial tensions in the fictional "tired old town" of Maycomb, Ala. As her lawyer father, Atticus, defends a black man accused of rape, Scout and her friends learn about the unjust treatment of African-Americans — and their mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley. They're city kids, but the real excitement happens during their annual summer trips to rural Illinois — where their larger-than-life grandmother turns small-town visits into big-time fun. Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico and go to work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farmworkers on the eve of the Great Depression.
Growing up in the dirty, crime-ridden tenements of Brooklyn in the early s, Francie Nolan has to be tough to survive. Determined to become a writer, Francie fights her way out of the slums with the resilience of the "Tree of Heaven," a special tree that can grow and thrive even in the most inhospitable environments. In in Connecticut, Kit Tyler, feeling out of place in the rigid Puritan household of her aunt and uncle, befriends an old woman considered a witch by the deeply religious community — and suddenly finds herself standing trial for witchcraft.
She learns from her mother, a schoolteacher who refuses to use textbooks that whitewash slavery, and her father, who stops a lynch mob, what it really means to fight back. In this sweet series illustrated by Helen John, the girls find fun in the rituals of faith and family as they celebrate the Jewish holidays and treat each day as an adventure. Laura Ingalls Wilder based the Little House series on her memories of growing up on the American frontier in the s. Often described as "the Aeneid of rabbits," this is the story of young rabbit Fiver and his brother Hazel, who set out on an epic journey to find a new home after their own warren is destroyed.
Watership Down began as a series of improvised stories author Richard Adams told his young daughters during car trips. Adams also invented the language, Lapine, spoken by Hazel and Fiver. Ivan, a silverback gorilla who has spent his life in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant, and decides that he must find her a better life. The novel is illustrated by Patricia Castelao and inspired by a real gorilla named Ivan, who lived in a mall and later became a celebrity at the Atlanta Zoo. Popper receives an unexpected gift, and before he knows it, his house is home to a charming but expensive waddle of penguins.
Desperate to find a way to make ends meet, Mr.
Popper takes the tuxedoed birds on the road as "Popper's Performing Penguins. In this whimsical political allegory, beautifully illustrated by Brian Floca, a group of mice fights to regain its liberty from the tyrannical owl Mr.
He rules the mice with an iron claw, granting them protection from a fearsome porcupine — but only in exchange for their undying obedience. When year-old India Opal Buloni finds a big, mangy hound wreaking havoc on the local Winn-Dixie supermarket, she takes him home with her to save him from being sent to the pound. She names the stray Winn-Dixie, and he inspires her to start making new friends. Paul Beebe and his sister Maureen have their hearts set on buying and taming Phantom, the wildest mare on Assateague Island. Though Phantom remains wild, her daughter Misty becomes an important part of the Beebe family.
Marguerite Henry's tale of the wild ponies is illustrated by Wesley Dennis. Chester the cat begins to notice something odd about his family's new pet rabbit. Fangs, capelike markings and a nocturnal disposition harden Chester's conviction: The sweet baby bunny is actually a vampire. James Howe's creepy, furry tale is illustrated by Alan Daniel.
Deep in the Mossflower Forest lies Redwall Abbey, populated by a motley cast of mice, squirrels, hedgehogs and other forest creatures. This book series covers a vast span of time in the idyllic world of Redwall; jump in anywhere and join heroes like Martin the Warrior and Triss the squirrelmaid as they battle evil in between lavish abbey feasts of Veggible Molebake and Woodland Summercream Pudding. The collected adventures of A. Christopher Robin, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, Owl and the rest spend their dappled days boosting Pooh out of Rabbit's doorway, meeting Heffalumps, playing Poohsticks, giving parties and attempting to "unbounce" the excitable Tigger.
A widowed field mouse must enlist the help of a pack of ex-lab rats to save her home from a farmer's plow in this novel playfully illustrated by Zena Bernstein. In exchange, she helps the rats, who are a sophisticated and literate society, as they look to cast off the yoke of human dominance. Billy roams the Ozarks with his two beloved dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann, teaching them how to hunt raccoons.
But when tragedy strikes in the form of a mountain lion, Billy takes comfort in the Native American legend of the red fern, which can be planted only by an angel. Chester the cricket is happy living in a peaceful Connecticut meadow. But when he follows the smell of a picnic-goer's liverwurst all the way to New York's Times Square, he finds he can't get enough of big city life with his new friends, a cat, a mouse and a boy. A little girl, a loquacious spider and "some pig" star in this beloved story of friendship, ingenuity and the cycle of life, illustrated by Garth Williams.
Farm girl Fern loves Wilbur the pig, who is destined for the dinner table until quick-thinking gray spider Charlotte starts spinning his praise in web form — with the comical assistance of Templeton the rat. This scrapbook biography of Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, profiles two intellectuals — from very different backgrounds — who shared interests in literature and politics, as well as a great love for each other. Candace Fleming uses photographs, drawings, recipes, notes and letters to illustrate their remarkable union. Her diaries, preserved by her father, provide a vivid portrait of the years she and her family spent hiding in an Amsterdam warehouse that Anne referred to as "the secret annex.
In a sympathetic and sensitive portrayal of the United States' longest-serving first lady, Russell Freedman follows Roosevelt from her difficult childhood to her years in the White House during her husband's four terms to her work with the United Nations following FDR's death. Full of treachery, spies, adventure and deception, Bomb is the story of "the creation — and theft — of the deadliest weapon ever invented. The Tuck family is confronted with an agonizing situation when it discovers that a year-old girl and a malicious stranger now share their secret, about a spring of magical water that prevents the drinker from ever growing any older.
James' parents are trampled by a rhinoceros, and he is sent to live with his abusive aunts in this fantastic tale, illustrated by Quentin Blake. When James accidentally spills magical crocodile tongues on a peach tree, it grows the largest, juiciest, ripest peach imaginable — the perfect vehicle in which to escape his horrid aunts. Four cousins spending their summer vacation in a city apartment find an ancient coin and enjoy a series of fantastic adventures when they learn the coin is "half magic. Bodecker illustrate the sometimes unexpected results of the children's wishes.
Reared by ghosts, werewolves and other residents of the hillside cemetery he calls home, an orphan named Nobody Owens wonders how he will manage to survive among the living having learned all his lessons from the dead. And the man Jack — who killed the rest of Nobody's family — is itching to finish the job.
Illustrations by Dave McKean. Ever wondered why you're constantly losing socks? Or buttons, or paper clips, or postage stamps? Perhaps it's because you unwittingly live with Borrowers, tiny people who furnish their secret homes with castoffs "borrowed" from "human beans. Harry, Ron and Hermione must master their craft and battle the machinations of the evil wizard Voldemort and his Death Eaters.
The three Baudelaire children are sent to live with the dastardly fortune hunter Count Olaf when their parents die in a fire, and that is just the beginning of their misfortunes. Luckily for readers, the children encounter enough misery to fill 13 books of this deliciously morbid series. A stern but magical English governess is blown into the Banks' lives by the east wind. She slides up the banisters, can produce enormous objects from her carpet bag, and takes the children to a tea party on the ceiling in this beloved children's classic.
In Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, the lives and adventures of the four independent, creative March sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy — are set against the backdrop of 19th century New England while their father is away during the Civil War. Ramona Quimby, irrepressible owl-wrecker, burr-crown-maker, one-bite-apple-eater, anti-smoking campaigner and toothpaste squeezer, goes from pesty little sister to grown-up year-old over the course of this beloved, humorous series by author Beverly Cleary. Ramona began as an incidental character in a different series, but quickly became a kid-lit icon in her own right.
Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle sets off on a cross-country road trip with her grandparents to try to find her mother, who recently left her and her father. On the way, Sal tells them about her friend Phoebe Winterbottom, whose story of an absent mother begins to illuminate Sal's own.
They arrive in Birmingham in time to see the deadly bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in this elegant blending of fact and fiction. The daughter of a medieval English nobleman, Catherine has been raised for just one thing: But she has other ideas, and does her best to drive away any potential suitors, until she meets the dreadful and persistent Shaggy Beard, whom she fears she'll never escape.
Danny lives in a converted gypsy caravan with his dad, who runs a gas station and garage — and secretly spends his spare time poaching pheasants from the forest of villainous local landowner Mr. When Danny's father is injured by one of Mr. Hazell's man-traps, the two hatch an ingenious plan to wreck the landowner's annual pheasant shooting party by stealing all the pheasants first. Illustrated by Quentin Blake. Every Saturday, a different child can use the whole amount on an activity of their choice, from concerts to museums to utterly unexpected adventures.
When their widowed father invites a mail-order bride to come live with them in their prairie home, Caleb and Anna are captivated by their new mother, Sarah, who sings and makes her own clothes.
But when she goes back home, the children fear she'll never return. In this collection of eight novels by Lucy Maude Montgomery, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a rather prim and elderly brother and sister pair, send away for an orphan boy to help them run their farm on Canada's Prince Edward Island.
But when the orphan arrives, he's not a he, he's a she — the loquacious and dreamy red-haired Anne-with-an-E Shirley — who quickly takes up a central place in their hearts. In the tumultuous summer of , Delphine and her two sisters travel from Brooklyn to Oakland, Calif. There, they begin to learn about the fraught relationship between race and power.
Welsh mythology forms the basis for this tale of assistant pig-keeper Taran, who dreams of being a hero and eventually realizes that dream. Along with his companions Princess Eilonwy, and Gurgi the half-man and of course, Hen Wen the oracular pig , Taran defends the mythical land of Prydain from the Death-lord Arawn, and in the end must decide if wants to rule Prydain himself. Barrie's classic story about how "all children, except one, grow up. Alice follows a talking white rabbit in a waistcoat down a rabbit hole, and from there, things only get curiouser and curiouser.
After run-ins with a Mad Hatter, a hookah-puffing caterpillar, and a disappearing cat with an enigmatic grin, Alice incurs the wrath of a dangerous enemy: The Queen of Hearts. In the year , year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day — the day schoolchildren are told what their jobs will be — to become a Messenger so she can run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, and perhaps even glimpse Unknown Regions. With help from an eccentric professor, three children succeed in locating the last of the really great Whangdoodles, a wondrous, mooselike creature living in Whangdoodleland.
There, they work to grant his heart's greatest wish: Yearning for knowledge and power, Sparrowhawk, a young student at the School for Wizards, becomes overanxious and tries his dangerous powers too soon, unleashing a terrible evil throughout the land, as he prepares for his destiny as the greatest sorcerer in the history of Earthsea. The four Pevensie children have been evacuated from London to the countryside during the Blitz — but when youngest child Lucy stumbles through a strange wardrobe and into the magical land of Narnia, an even wilder adventure begins. These six books lay out the history of Narnia from creation to destruction and beyond to its re-creation by the mythical lion Aslan.
Jonas lives in a seemingly perfect world: Everyone has an assigned role, there are no choices, and no one experiences pain. But at 12, Jonas is given his lifetime assignment and he becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community — and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.
In a remote corner of Terry Pratchett's Discworld, a young witch-to-be named Tiffany Aching teams up with the Wee Free Men, a clan of rowdy, 6-inch-high blue men, to rescue her baby brother and ward off a sinister invasion from Fairyland. In this hit series, young Lyra Belacqua tries to prevent kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments; helps Will Parry — a boy from another world — search for his father; and finds that she and Will are caught in a battle between the angelic forces of the Authority and those gathered by her rebel uncle, Lord Asriel.
Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return. Sixth-grader Dwight is a total loser. But things start to look up when he begins to dispense eerily good advice from an origami finger puppet of Yoda.
When a classmate and his Darth Vader finger puppet become determined to end Dwight, can Yoda save him once more? Sixth-grader Margaret Simon talks to God about faith, bras, periods and boys, in between bosom-building exercises and preteen chants of: Bratty Mary Lennox, born in India to wealthy and neglectful parents, is sent back to England after a cholera epidemic to live in a rural manor with her uncle. At first rude and angry, Mary is transformed by the kindness of the staff and by her discovery of a neglected garden that once belonged to the late lady of the manor.