Kristine’s review of The Giver (The Giver, #1) > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Megan (new)

Megan I also teach 6th grade, but opted for A Wrinkle in Time last year...I decided that I am for sure going to do The Giver instead this coming year. I think it is a much better constructed novel and I am super excited after reading your review:)


message 2: by Kristine (new)

Kristine I know what you mean about the age group. There's a big difference between 10, 11, and 12, and I think 11 is the youngest age I think they can understand the concepts in the book AND appreciate the characters. To make it a great book, I think they need both. I feel OK teaching the book to my 11 year olds. We do it near the end of the year. They've changed a lot from Sept and in SocStu they've learned the "eye for an eye" policy, and the fact that the Spartans left weaker babies out to die.

I'm lucky to have them for 90 minutes a day. I know them very, very well by May. By chapter 19, we've spent a lot of time with the book; some of them already suspect what release is. I often warn them that something sad is going to happen in the chapters, and then we sit and listen together. What usually happens is that one of reacts strongly: That is awful! or, That is so sad! I'll agree sympathetically and other kids add on. I think I said in my review that I regret the years I had them read the book alone at home, without the group experience.

I don't discuss with them too long at the end of 19 bc J's reaction in 20 says it all. Jonas screams and cries; the kids know that THAT is the normal reaction. They KNOW they've seen something terrible, so don't feel alone in their fear. The book picks up quickly after Ch 19- Jonas and the Giver hatch their plan so the kids don't have too much time to dwell on the sadness. It turns pretty quickly to Jonas' love for Gabe, so they feel something wonderful pretty soon, and I think they know that Jonas is correcting his father's wrong.

And, this is weird; I think adults feel more of the devastation of the baby's death. Now that I have nephews, the sight of a child suffering is too much for me. I don't think Ch 19 affected me back when I was 23 or 25 as it does now at age 32.

We discuss at the end if Jonas and Gabe die or not. They were freezing, but Jonas feels he's coming closer to Elsewhere. Does that mean death, or does it mean a different place that he only knows by the name of Elsewhere? When the moment of joy surges through him, is he hallucinating? I love that the end is so ambiguous. “But perhaps it was only an echo.” Usually one of them wonders, is that his town getting the memories of music? And is the Giver dead? Did Jonas get the hint of music as the Giver died and his memory left?

Most of them believe the boys lived. I thought for a long time that they died. How could that normal town have been so close and not know about Jonas' community? But, and I'm kind of irritated at this, in an interview, Lois Lowry said, "I'm disappointed that people think Jonas and Gabe die." Meaning, she thinks they live. I still think the kids should interpret the end, bc they haven’t read that interview. But I’M disappointed that she said that. I still wonder if Jonas and Gabe are brothers. I think they are.



message 3: by Kristine (new)

Kristine You're right- the sled is one of the biggest hints that he's hallucinating. For some reason last year's kids didn't hook into that as much; maybe bc so many of them wanted to believe the boys lived. They were an optimistic bunch, one of my favorite classes ever. And, I think she uses the word Elsewhere bc that's the only way J knows how to describe it... Yeah I'm happy to know they lived. Wouldn't it be awful if they died? I mean, THAT would be a depressing ending for kids. To know that you tried so hard to change that dystopia, and you did, but you had to die trying. It's so much happier to think that the ppl in the town save them.
There's a book written by a Mom who was po'd that all the books the books her kids were reading were all depressing, and she questioned the school's motives and judgment. I cannot remember the name of the book- I suppose if I googled it maybe those keywords could help me find it. It looked good- but I only read a little of it. It seems like it's something you might be interested in.
(For goodness sake, the theme of our 8th graders is the HOLOCAUST. An important thing to learn about of course, but man that's heavy. Even 9th grade might be a better audience. Who knows!)


message 4: by Khutala (new)

Khutala Kristine,

I'm a 7th grade teacher and will be teaching the Giver this year for the 1st time. Do you have any advice or activities that you do with the book that were really effective?

Thanks


message 5: by Randelion (new)

Randelion I first read the giver in college and loved it. Did you know that there are two more books? It is actually a trilligy. The next book is called "Gathering Blue" and the last is "The Messenger". They will tell you what happened to Jonas and Gabe.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I read the giver and I hated it and I am a student. Do not teach this book to your children. Everyone in my class detested this book and thought it was a waste of time.


message 7: by Renee (new)

Renee I enjoyed this book but as a teacher of 5th grade, I would not use it as a read aloud. I would only recommend it for certain students in their independent reading. I agree with Kristine that the end of 6th grade is really the earliest it should be used whole class.


message 8: by Christy (new)

Christy OMG you should just STOP teaching that book to your class. I guarantee all the kids hated it.


message 9: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Tredway I disagree with the above poster's opinion that "all the kids hated it". All three of my kids read this book in middle school and LOVED it. I think my son read it for pleasure - not as assigned reading.

I finally read the book last year and I liked it. But I think it is too heavy for kids younger than 6th or 7th grade.

Kristine - I want to go back and read it again after reading your review of the book. I probably missed so much in my first read.


message 10: by Danielle (new)

Danielle I also disagree with the comment that "6th grade students would hat this." I teach 6th graders as well and when I told my students I was reading it I heard a lot of "Oh! I read that last year!" and "That's a good book!"


message 11: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I read this book in 4th grade with my class, and some was aloud some independent. I understood perfectly. Though I questioned the concepts so much that I had trouble sleeping for weeks. Especially the apple/shirt scenes. So though I understood everything, I agree that a little older is better. I cried so much over this book, and I remember so much about it, not many books have made such an impression on me.


message 12: by Jana (new)

Jana Barker I love this book. I also teach 6th grade and it is ALWAYS the class favorite at the end of the year. Each time I read it, it gets better and better!


message 13: by Christy (new)

Christy there might be the odd ball kid who likes it
but 99% don't

and anyone under 6th grade probably doesn't understand half of it


message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I just graduated from high school about a month ago. And I believe not last summer but the summer before, I had summer school. We read this book in that class. I LOVED it. I was so hooked. I wanted to know why the took pills. Or why they saw in black and white? It's been a while since I read it. So I'm bot sure how much I remember. But I really liked it. I think any age group from the grade levels 6 and up would enjoy it.


message 15: by Breana (new)

Breana I read this book when I was in school and have loved it since. I bought my own copy and it's one of my favorite books. Maybe some students won't like it but it's well worth the try.


message 16: by Jerrika (new)

Jerrika Well I'm in the eight grade and I take all collage classes and I thinl this book is to entament for people that young . I mean like the stirrings and rhe people being and seeing the things the same.so :)


message 17: by Ben (new)

Ben Hobbs Kristine,

I really enjoyed reading your initial review and your subsequent responses to other's critiques and thoughts. I, like your students, naturally gravitate towards the optimistic ending and hoping that they live, while the realist in me says that the imagery is too coincidental and correlates to their condition at the time a little too well (read: hypothermic symptoms).

I also agree that having a child seems to make an immeasurable difference in how you read/experience the pain or suffering of children.

Lastly, would you mind elaborating on the concept of the book as a mystery? I love the dystopic genre and am curious about that angle.

Thanks,
Ben Hobbs (high-school chemistry/env. sci. teacher)


message 18: by Yamesse (new)

Yamesse This book is my all time favorite, i've read and re-read it over and over again. Your review is exactly how I feel about this book, it was given to me when I was in sixth grade, as I was ahead of the class and my teacher loved to give me other books to read and discuss with her. I still own the same copy she gave me. It is such an amazing book and I always find something different when I read that I didn't realize before. Also, Jonas and Gabe do not die in the end as someone previously stated in a comment, Lowry wrote another book, The Messenger, which is just as amazing as The Giver, that brings The Giver and her book Gathering Blue together, in a wonderful book that shows the differences between societies of the world in the same time periods. There is such a drastic difference from the societies pictured in The Giver, Gathering Blue, and The Messenger, yet in quite a few ways they are the same.


message 19: by Laura (new)

Laura D. My son's class was assigned this book, so I read it ....and was appalled, so much so that I did something I *never* thought I'd do: I decided my son would not be allowed to read it. Oh, did I mention that he was in FIRST GRADE at the time?!?!? Okay, yea, it was a "gifted" program, but still, what was the teacher thinking???


message 20: by Alejandra (new)

Alejandra Christina wrote: "there might be the odd ball kid who likes it
but 99% don't

and anyone under 6th grade probably doesn't understand half of it"


I read the book whilst in the fourth grade, and not because I was assigned it, rather for the sheer pleasure of reading it. Granted, when I selected the book I had not formulated any thoughts about how the novel would entice, whether it would. Still, even being that young, it was a rare occurrence that I encountered something within Lowry's novel that I did not understand. To this day, it has remained my favorite book, though I will openly admit it is not the best book. Still, it was the first real book I read; the first book that didn't focus on some illusory plot to entertain the reader; it held substance. And for that, I will disagree with both your statements.


message 21: by Richard (new)

Richard This is one of the first books I had to read in school that I actually sat down and read. It is definitely is worth a read. Years later in it's still in my top 20 favorite books.


message 22: by Christy (last edited May 22, 2012 07:30PM) (new)

Christy Alejandra wrote: "Christina wrote: "there might be the odd ball kid who likes it
but 99% don't
and anyone under 6th grade probably doesn't understand half of it"


I read the book whilst in the fourth grade, and not because I was assigned it, rather for the sheer pleasure of reading it. Granted, when I selected the book I had not formulated any thoughts about how the novel would entice, whether it would. Still, even being that young, it was a rare occurrence that I encountered something within Lowry's novel that I did not understand. To this day, it has remained my favorite book, though I will openly admit it is not the best book. Still, it was the first real book I read; the first book that didn't focus on some illusory plot to entertain the reader; it held substance. And for that, I will disagree with both your statements. "





lmao wtf are you like right clicking half your words to find synonyms?
just because its the first real book you read doesnt mean you have to like it
and congrats miss thesaurus you are the 1%


message 23: by J.N. (new)

J.N. I hated this book in 6th grade. When I read it two years later, I loved it. I think it may have been because our teacher was very bland when we read books. I really wish I'd had a teacher like you who discussed the books being read. Keep up the great work!


message 24: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Christina - Calm down. You're putting a damper on an otherwise pleasant discussion of a book that is loved by millions. You don't have to like it.

Loved this book. Read it in (guessing?) 5th grade and it made a real impression on me. Have read it again and again as an adult. Great review. Teachers like you give me hope. :)


message 25: by Christy (new)

Christy Sarah wrote: "Christina - Calm down. You're putting a damper on an otherwise pleasant discussion of a book that is loved by millions. You don't have to like it."



Oh I don't have to like it? Thanks, I never knew.


message 26: by Kristin (new)

Kristin Vitale cinar Christina... You are obviously a child (or someone who has yet to grow up). Your initial comment was helpful, but then you started talking down to people because what? You want to cause drama over a book!?! Seriously! Grow up! Anyway, to everyone else... Thanks for the comments! I am seriously considering reading this book to my students, so that they can learn how to analyze and discuss books maturely. I've never personally read this book (and i read more than 15 books a year),but my sister keeps telling me I should.


message 27: by Christy (new)

Christy Kristin wrote: "Christina... You are obviously a child (or someone who has yet to grow up). Your initial comment was helpful, but then you started talking down to people because what? You want to cause drama over ..."


If you didn't see, someone replied to my first comment so I replied back to it. Lol hypocrite. You are talking down to me right now because I'm younger than you.
You haven't even read the book, for all you know you might agree with me. Kthxbai.
Also your students can learn how to analyze and discuss books maturely with something better than The Giver.


message 28: by Kenny (new)

Kenny i loved this book! i read it in middle school then again around 16 or 17.


message 29: by Julie (new)

Julie Costello I am loving that this thread had a start in 1999 and is still going.

I teach 6th grade and have loved using The Giver for shared inquiry. We have had wonderful discussions and the students really think and predict and then change their thinking and think some more. It is a book they definitely remember.

How the teacher arranges the reading and the discussion definitely will impact whether the students appreciate the book. Most important is that the teacher understands the book and structures discussions that the students can engage in.

Our team divided our students for our dystopian literature and two groups read The Giver and another Among the Hidden. It worked well.


message 30: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Gremore I am so glad you teach this :)


message 31: by Christine (new)

Christine I read the book after it was assigned to my daughter in 5th grade. I found it compelling but wish she had been older when she read it. Yet dystopian fiction is her favorite genre. And I remember my own share of weird and disturbing middle school reading assignments, such as "I am the Cheese," which I didn't understand at the time, and "The Wave." I suppose that imagining alternate worlds is an important process in adolescence. Looking forward to the next two books in the trilogy.


message 32: by Angie (new)

Angie Minnick I love the book however i think some parts were unsuitable for my ten year old.. Do ten yr old lil girls really need to be reading about th


message 33: by Angie (new)

Angie Minnick About the desires of jonas wanting to see fiona naked in the bathtub ....its good boo; but maybe not for such a young group


message 34: by Allyssa (new)

Allyssa My teacher is currently reading the book to us and yeah, she thinks exactly the same sometimes, we say things that she doesn't expect us to say. We focus on the book and the surroundings in it and we start giving ideas on how it will be next and what they are meaning. Like you said, she stops reading at some points and asks " Isn't that a bit weird?" Then we start to say comments as e time passes. But overall, this book is great and we haven't finished yet but yeah, exactly what you say is happening in my class right now.


message 35: by Allyssa (new)

Allyssa Actually Christina, I'm in 5th grade (lied about the age but) I actually understand the whole book, maybe it's just you that doesn't understand the book. You can't just say that we don't because you don't have any proof of that. Well there are more than 1,000 kids who actually read this book and they are under the age of 12( Like me ) and they even understand the book if you are really in the interest of it. That is how you read books. Duh


message 36: by Christy (new)

Christy Allyssa wrote: "Actually Christina, I'm in 5th grade (lied about the age but) I actually understand the whole book, maybe it's just you that doesn't understand the book. You can't just say that we don't because you don't have any proof of that. Well there are more than 1,000 kids who actually read this book and they are under the age of 12( Like me ) and they even understand the book if you are really in the interest of it. That is how you read books. Duh "







where you mean that you lied about your age I'm on my phone and cbf to go look at what else you said
Whatever it's obvious how old you are anyway after that comment, brat age
Hun I understood the book and never said i didn't (I said anyone under 6th shouldn't read it cause they prob wont understand half of it, but i read it in grade 7)
tbh I don't remember any of it other than some perverted old man rubbing a young boys back to give him effed up memories.
I think you in grade 5 should be reading something like holes or hatchet, tuck everlasting something cute like that
Yes I'm aware a lot more then 1000 kids read it thanks for that wonderful piece of information ~
As if you just duh'd me :o
Anyway it feels weird to argue with an 11 year old over the Internet, ta!


message 37: by Di (new)

Di My 5th grader just read this with her class. She's been begging me to read it! It's next on my list. They are now on to Gathering Blue.


message 38: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Kristine,

I have read the book and am onto the next in the series. After reading your review and "kind of" figuring out how the series ties together, I am seriously considering purchasing the entire set to read again and again.


message 39: by Milos (last edited Jun 26, 2013 01:27AM) (new)

Milos Vujkovic Some fine human beings you have helped raise.


message 40: by Kirsty (new)

Kirsty Hughes I know I'm a little late to join this thread, but I'm 17 and I just finished reading this book for the pleasure of reading and I'm just awestruck at how it affected me. I didn't even consider the fact that maybe they died at the end, I just assumed they lived and made it, although, I figured the sled was a hallucination. I cried like a baby when one of the twins was released and at how angry Jonas was when he realized what it all meant. I wish I had read it in class just to see what everyone else had thought and what my teacher would have said everything meant. Definitely something everyone should have the chance to read and discuss.


message 41: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Carr Thanks for the review. I'm a new teacher and have chosen this book to do with a year six class. I'm really looking forward to it and can't wait to see/hear what the kids extract from this great novel.


message 42: by Ella (new)

Ella Miller You should check out the series! This is one of my favorite books EVER so i am reading the series. Check out Gathering Blue at a bookstore or library. :-)


message 43: by Ella (new)

Ella Miller kirsty there is a series!


message 44: by Cooper (new)

Cooper Very true. I love this book and it is in one of my top favorites.


message 45: by Christy (new)

Christy You guys should teach your classes the outsiders.


message 46: by Yssa (new)

Yssa Santiago I wish my grade school English teachers were more like you..


message 47: by Andra (new)

Andra Meyers My husband, daughter and I just finished this book. Our daughter is a very bright 9.5 and absolutely loved this piece. I don't think we should shield our children from the details in the book. After all, isn't that precisely what the 'sameness' was trying to do. I agree that we need to share these memories and allow each person the opportunity to make decisions, share the burden and help others deal with the pain.


message 48: by Christy (new)

Christy Guess what ! So I seen a trailer that this book is going to be a movie and Taylor Swift is in it so I read this book again cause I'm a huge swifty anyway, it was better than I remembered. When reading this in class that young I didn't even understand they died at the end which makes it so much better. So ya I stand by my not teaching this book to kids that young but I changed my mind and agree that it's good. :)


message 49: by Amy (new)

Amy Just read this book for the first time and I'm 57. Loved it and will read the next two. I don't remember if my children read this book while they were in school but I think if they had, they would have mentioned it. I know they read Lowry's other books.


message 50: by Fallyn (new)

Fallyn I believe I was in 7th grade when I read this book. I remember absolutely loving it, it was the book that made me fall in love with dystopian novels. The Giver was how I even discovered what "dystopian" meant, and from that point on I purposefully searched out books that were described as dystopian novels and became a voracious reader.

I also want to add that I agree that when I was younger I saw the book in a different light than I do now. As an adult or as a parent you have a protective instinct toward children and babies in the story, but as a child you see yourself on the same level as Jonas and the other kids. It is still disturbing and wrong to kids, which I think is a good reaction to have, but I don't see anything wrong with kids experiencing disgust toward something or a feeling of responsibility to fix it. It has been a long time since I read it but I remember feeling empowered and able to stand up for what I felt was wrong.
I think that this difference in response depending on the stage you are at in your life is apparent all the time if you stop to notice it. Some movies disturb or upset me much more now than they used to. I used to think it was silly how my mom cried when watching certain movies and now of course I am on the couch sniffling right next to her!


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