Perfect Book for Kids Discovering Themselves
I do not have children, however I am a nanny to 3. The oldest is starting 5th grade and will read the book, among others, for me this summer.
This book has violence. It has sexual content. It is about a supposed utopian community that has some of the most horrible values that it makes you want to rip it apart in anger. That is exactly why we should let these kids read it.
So there's violence. What 5th grader hasn't seen harry potter, transformers, iron man, or any other movie? Kids these days love action movies and shows where the good guy conquers over evil and does a little butt kicking while he's at it. But 5th graders also need to figure out things on their own, for example: what is good? what is evil? how can something that was supposed to be good turn out to be evil? The Giver helps them discover for themselves what they believe is right as they discover more about how the book's society works.
As far as the sexual content, its a boy going through puberty. Kids know what that's like. They know the confusion and the uncertainty that comes along with it. Parents say this book steers kids away from talking about puberty, but if parents are open and available yet not pushy then their kids shouldn't have a problem just because of this book. I didn't think twice about how it affected my life when i read it...i only ever thought about how strange the parents in the book were to close puberty discussions.
And those horrible opinions i mentioned before? Killing unneeded babies, treating birth mothers as lazy, killing the old when they are no longer of use. These are all ideas similar to our own world: abortion, euthanasia, the modern working woman v.s. june cleaver. kids discover these all on their own soon enough, with the world telling them what to think on this subject and that. but with The Giver, as i said before, they are able to make their own decisions and feel their own feelings.