A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this graphic novel adaptation of Lois Lowry's The Giver by illustrator P. Craig Russell tells the story of 12-year-old Jonas, who lives in a community of unquestioning conformity and learns to give his neighbors a share of the pain and genuine happiness that can be experienced by humankind. Violent scenes are infrequent, but they include the aftermath of a bloody battle and a scene in which an infant is killed by lethal injection. Sexual content is limited to a mildly erotic dream about a classmate. There's no swearing or substance use.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
As THE GIVER opens, 12-year-old Jonas lives in a community where everyone avoids anything unpleasant and color has been stripped from their sight. Jonas looks forward to the day when he will be assigned to the job he'll hold for the rest of his life. But when he's selected to be a Receiver of Memory, he meets the Giver, the secretive figure who teaches him about life outside the community. Jonas gradually comes to see the magnificent colors of the world and learns that life is filled with both joy and pain. Eventually, he must decide whether he should stay and finish his often traumatic mission.
Is it any good?
Some science fiction classics seem destined for adaptation to comics, and this dazzlingly illustrated graphic version captures the elements of the novel that make it so relevant and admired. P. Craig Russell uses a blue/silver palette for the opening chapters, and it's a wonderful choice, more lively than plain black-and-white, hinting at the hues waiting to be unveiled. Even though they look and act very much alike, the individual characters pop off the pages. Russell composes that pages with a sharp and sensitive eye, always clear on the flow of the narrative.
Lois Lowry's classic novel smoothly makes its transition to comics, and fans of and newcomers to the book will be captivated by the visual storytelling.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Giver depicts a supposedly utopian society. Would it be nice to live in a society where everyone gets along and believes the same things? What are the dangers?
Jonas feels anxious and embarrassed when he dreams about a girl taking a bath. Are such feelings normal? Should family members be able to talk about them without shame?
Why is it important for people to experience the painful and unsettling parts of life? Should discomfort be avoided altogether? Is such a situation even possible?
- Author: Lois Lowry
- Illustrator: P. Craig Russell
- Genre: Graphic Novel
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Great Girl Role Models, History, Middle School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publication date: February 5, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 192
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: Newbery Medal and Honors
- Last updated: February 11, 2020
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