The Giver by Lois Lowry (Banned Book Week with a giveaway copy!)

Jonas lives in a world where there is no poverty, no sickness, and no thought or dream that is left unturned by his elders.  In Jonas futuristic world, children are given privileges and assignments by age.  At 9, you earn your bike… your transportation.  At 12, which is where Jonas is at, you are assigned your life career bu the elders of the community.  While Jonas anxiously wonders what he will be – and hopes he likes what is chosen for him…

Jonas is assigned a position that was considered an honor position, he would be The Receiver Of Memories.  At first, this seems pretty cool.  Jonas is given rights that others (even the elders) have never been given.  While being trained by the elderly man “The Giver” who has maintained the position for years, Jonas is allowed to ask questions that in other places would be rude, but as the Receiver, he had privileges and rights.  He is given the right to see and posses all the memories through the history of his world and he soon learns he can go back in this new memory and see birthday parties (something he had never seen!) and scents, and families, and the word love… but he also sees war, and learns the truth about his world, a truth he does not wish to know…

and now he has to decide if he can live with knowing…


Reminds me a bit of the Hunger Games


Why did I want to read this book?  This is another book that has graced my shelves for years…. I knew this was a book that I must read, but I had not.  Now, during Banned Book Week, the title came up on the list and I knew it was time.  I chose the audio version as it is a little over 4 hours long and worked well into my schedule – I could listen while cooking and cleaning.

I admit, I am always a little nervous on older titles that deal with “futuristic” scenarios.  I never have enjoyed sci-fi, but let me stand before you.. corrected.  The Giver is dystopian before dystopia novels were cool.  Or, more accurately, before we knew dystopia novels were cool.  I picked up themes of The Hunger Games, and Divergent…. two books I really enjoyed.

And another thing.  The Giver, although the cover is a picture of this God-like old man… is indeed a YA novel.  Seriously, I am blown away.

The Giver is one of those books that I would say need to be on everyone’s book bucket list.  Filled with wisdom and thought provoking dialogue, The Giver is one that will remain on my keeper shelf. 


Why was The Giver Banned?

* The Giver was challenged in 1995 by a parent in Franklin County, Kansas, on the grounds that it is “concerned with murder, suicide, and the degradation of motherhood and adolescence.” The book was removed from elementary libraries but remained available for classroom use at teachers’ discretion.

* In Wrenshall, Minnesota, a school board member and two parents objected to the inclusion of The Giver on a list of books to be purchased for a high school, on the grounds of offensive language and objectionable themes. The school board approved the book but stipulated that parents would receive a list of books to be studied during the year.

* In Johnson County, Missouri, complainants charged that The Giver desensitized children to euthanasia and asked that the book “not be read in class to children under high school age.” The book remains in the high school section of the K-12 library.

* A parent in Sidney, New York, publicly objected to the novel’s “usage of mind control, selective breeding, and the elimination of the old and young alike when they are weak, feeble and of no more use…” but did not file a formal complaint.

* A review committee in Brecksville, Ohio, recommended the removal of The Giver from an elementary library. Objections referred to infanticide and adult themes in the novel. The book was removed.

* Somewhere in Oklahoma, a parent objected to the novel’s use of terms such as “clairvoyance,” “transcendent,” and “guided imagery,” because these are “all occult New Age practices the Bible tells us to avoid.” The review committee voted unanimously to retain the book but prohibited it from being read aloud in fourth grade. The committee also recommended that immature readers be discouraged from trying it, and that the librarian should make fewer copies available.

* Medford, Oregon: In the absence of a formal review policy, language arts teachers decided not to use the book in seventh grade classrooms after a parent complained of graphic descriptions of euthanasia.

* In 1994, The Giver was temporarily banned from classes by the Bonita Unified School District in LaVerne and San Dimas, California, after four parents complained that violent and sexual passages were inappropriate for children.

* The book was restricted to students with parental permission at the Columbia Falls, Mont. school system in 1995 because of its treatment of themes of infanticide and euthanasia.

I am giving away a copy of this book!

To enter this giveaway – share with me in a comment, using the book you are currently reading (banned or not) and tell me why that book should be banned.  Just make something up!  Have fun with it!  😀  Winner will be chosen on Sunday using 🙂

50 thoughts on “The Giver by Lois Lowry (Banned Book Week with a giveaway copy!)

  1. Ok, I will start to show what I mean. While I am listening to and reading mainly banned books this week, I do have James Patterson “You’ve Been Warned” in the kitchen cd player. That one should be banned, in fact all of Patterson’s books should be banned for excessively small chapters! Seriously, the man has like 100 chapters in every book, every few pages it is a new chapter…. thats just dangerous and could give people migraines. 😀

  2. I had The Giver on my TBR list for years and then I found a signed copy of it in a second hand shop–I was thrilled! Since I have this book, no need to enter me in your generous giveaway. I also read Number the Stars by the same author.

  3. It’s amazing which books make the Banned List, isn’t it?!

    Poison Study should definitely be banned b/c it teaches various methods of assassination by poisoning. Not ingredients, per se, but how to sneak poison into food and drink unsuspectingly. Someone might get ideas!!!!

    1. Ahh, yes definitely “bannable”, my book club read a book once that told you how to kill your husband with scrambled eggs… I guess that is more of a “self help” then a banned book 😀

  4. I liked The Giver when I read it, but felt the ending left a lot to be desired. But this author loves to end her books in such a way that has us thinking, What’s going to happen next? and have the reader take the novel further in their own minds.

    1. I was surprised by the ending – I thought there would be more… when I looked on line to see if the second book would continue on, it does not. I guess there are elements of The Giver in it, but really it is another story….

  5. The Woman in Black should be banned because the ghost kills children and there is talk of dying children in the book. Sad stuff. Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. Totally should be banned…. also, because the word “black” is in the title… after all, that’s why the book Black Beauty was called to be taken off the shelves. Yes, the one about the horse… 😯

  6. The Giver sounds intriguing.
    I’m currently reading “The Wizard of Oz”. Imagine — the scarecrow, the tin man, and the lion can all talk, but Toto can’t. The mice, the stork, and the flying monkeys can all talk, too. When all of the other animals talk, this is blatant discrimination against dogs. Toto should talk too!! 😊

  7. The Giver blew my mind in elementary school. I would love to read it again!
    I’m reading Brick Lane right now. It should obviously be banned because the main character’s affair will convince people everywhere to cheat on their spouses.

  8. I’ve read The Giver so not entering don’t want to take the chance from someone else but I am so frustrated by banned books instead of a coherent post with details on when and how the book was banned I just go off on a rant. Aside from the ending that I still don’t understand it was a fantastic and a total must read. My current book is Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens man does that woman write amazing fiction it’s about a serial killer so pretty sure the banners would have a field day and gasp there is swearing in it as well.

  9. I LOVED The Giver! I liked the next two in the series as well, though they weren’t as powerful as The Giver, which I suspect was meant as a stand-alone book. 🙂 I’m eager for the fourth book in the (now) quartet which came out yesterday. Dude! I just looked. Book’s 400 pages long! Interesting! 🙂

  10. I have never read The Giver but I have a co-worker who read the book in high school and she still talks about this book all the time! It definitely must be a book that leaves an impact. Thanks for sharing your review. I am going to add this to my To Be Read list.

  11. the Giver is wonderful. Thanks for this chance. What should be banned is any literary fiction which we enjoy.

    1. I think by the banning terms we see this week that all books really could apply either by title, or subject matter – and in some cases – cover (Take little Red Riding Hood banned because the cover looked like she had a bottle of wine in her basket). 😀

  12. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco should be banned because it’s overly religious (monks, monastery, etc.), but also because it uses several languages, including at least one dead language, and it’s not translated! There’s no way to know what he’s actually saying!!! o.O

  13. I love the list you included of why this one is challenged. Well, I don’t love the reasons but glad you included them (You know what I mean). 😉 This book was a really powerful one and I wish that I’d read it in a school setting.

  14. First of all, I loved The Giver and reviewed it on my blog, too! I put the link at the end of my post in case you were interested in checking it out!

    Secondly, I am reading “NW” by Zadie Smith and it should be banned because of the blatant masturbation, multiple abortions, and casual sex with couples that occurs in the story. However, banning a book makes me want it more!

    1. I had to laugh (I dont know why….) when you stated the reason your current read should be banned… our last book club had much of that (hated the book – I really did and I rarely hate a book) – that one would need to be banned as well.

  15. What a fun commenting idea!

    I read one of the Little House books this week for Banned Books. I think they should be banned because they actually try to teach children how to behave. How dare they? Don’t they realize that small children should rule the world? 🙂


  16. I’m reading GAME OF THRONES by George RR Martin. Where do I begin? Incest, violence, sex, nudity, offensive language etc etc. It’s a brilliant series.

  17. Not a book i’ve ever heard of let alone read, I’m intrigued by just how much murder, suicide, degradation of motherhood and adolescence there can be in one book.

    Busy reading Emily Windsnap And The Land Of The Midnight Sun by Liz Kesler I suppose there are those who would object to it because its a children’s book about a part-mer (her father is a merman, her mother a human) which could be offensive to those who were worried about a woman having sexual relations with someone who wasn’t totally human. Then of course there is the fact that one of the characters uses tarot cards – offensive because it encourages devil worship? Yeah, I suppose for those looking to be offended they’ll find something to be offended with in even the most inoffensive of books.

  18. I read this last year and was so impressed. I could see that it wouldn’t be for younger kids but it would have a lot of great discussion with older kids.

  19. I’ve heard The Giver can be a life changing book so I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. I’m currently reading Sunday’s at Tiffany’s, it should be banned because falling in love with your childhood imaginary friend who happens to be a perfect man is a tad bit unrealistic. x)

  20. Firstly, thank you for a facinating post! I would love to have the oportunity of reading this book.
    The book i am currently reading is Dan Brown’s The Da Vici Code, which has also been made into a film. It is still concidered contraversial to many, as it touches upon religion and the Bible – which is brave teritory for the author. There are many facts behind the fiction off course to make it honest, but it does expose the darker side of the Catholic religion and many subjects that were once discreat. If ‘banned’ it would be for exposing the religion and religious practises in an unfavourable and/ or demeaning light- for example when looking at ‘Corporal mortification’.

    Email: lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk

  21. I read The Giver back when I was still in junior high, so there is a lot I don’t remember about it. I am currently reading The Girl Who Played With Fire, and I am sure that they would love to ban this book as there are sexual themes, as well as LGBT themes- and we wouldn’t want to encourage tolerance, or differences in each other, would we? 😉 Also, I never realized The Giver was the first in a series!

  22. I know this will find you extremely late but I just had to weigh in on my favorite book ever. I’m 28, I read this book for the first time when I was 8. Maybe it was heavy reading material for me that young, but, seriously, its a great read and have continued to read it every year. I’ve always been “ahead of the curve” when it came to reading material and devoured each library I went to before the school year was up. (I moved frequently so went I thru lots of libraries) I live in Texas where everyone is extremely conservative. While not all 8 year olds should be exposed to books like this, they should read them. I was able to understand and “get” this book early but not all my classmates would understand it. I chose this book randomly at my school library and I’m so glad that I did. Its written beautifully and is very moving. I think parents who ban books need to get a grip. Just because you are afraid of the content doesn’t mean your child shouldn’t read it. Hasn’t anyone learned anything from the past? If we censor everything, we might as well call ourselves China, or Iran, or Korea. Stop being afraid of what is in books and let your child experience the world for themselves. Oh, and for goodness sakes, take away their phones and let those poor pasty white children feel the sun and get sweaty and dirty. (JMO!)

    -An ordinary wife and mom of 2 kids (3 if you count the hubby!)

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