Lois Lowry's Blog


See How They Run

Posted by Lois Lowry
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on Friday, 03 October 2008 in Uncategorized

This afternoon I'm going to see the movie "Man on Wire" with my friend writer Susan Goodman...whose book "See How They Run" is soon to be featured in People Magazine, obviously because of its timeliness (plus the fact that it's an excellent book) since it is about the American electoral process.  

That process was certainly on display last night during the VP debate, which I watched with Martin and two friends...all four of us a little aghast, I think, at the possibility of Sarah Palin potentially moving into a position of world power.  Okay, okay, Massachusetts is a very BLUE state; and Cambridge in particular has been derisively called the "Kremlin on the Charles."  But surely I must reflect the feeling of most people everywhere in this country that no, we DON'T want "someone like us" in the oval office.  We want someone BETTER than us: someone with superior intelligence and eloquence, someone statesmanlike and honorable, experienced and competent.

Because I have family in Europe, and visit there often, I am often privy to glimpses of how the USA is viewed abroad, and has been for several years now. How I yearn for our stature in the world to be reclaimed.  How certain I feel that Obama and Biden are the only ones who hold out the possibility of that happening.

Busy weekend this weekend, with an event to attend tonight, theater tickets tomorrow, concert tickets Sunday.  Cambridge life resumed.  Next weekend my son and a friend will spend the weekend at the Maine farm and he will put up the storm windows for me...I was there overnight this past week, in order to meet the electrician who needed to do some work...but I can't manage those heavy end-of-season tasks.  Thank goodness for strapping sons.

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Kelsey Monday, 29 November 1999

What bothers me the most about this sort of thing is that censorship/banning of a book like The Giver seems to promote the type of society they arrived at in The Giver. It isn't as though you painted a portrait of a magical wonderful fairyland in that book!

Lori Lusk Monday, 29 November 1999

Because of the apparent socialization trend our country is heading toward is exactly WHY I teach The Giver each year! It is a wonderful source to encourage my students to be independent thinkers and to appreciate the freedoms we have in our country! I always list The Giver as one of my favorite books personally as it changed my life as well. Thank YOU for writing such an inspiring and thought provoking piece of young adult literature and allowing me to be able to teach it each year.

Kelsey C Monday, 29 November 1999

Oh dear. What I wonder is if the man who wrote the review even read the book? It seems to me that he is focusing on subject matter that is in no way condoned in the story, as Jonas comes to realize. The book is not an example of how things should be in the future, but rather what we should try not to become. If the man had even read the novel, than he should have realized this for himself. And if he has read the book... well, I feel like that's even worse. His misinterpretation is great, and it saddens me.

Louise Pitt Monday, 29 November 1999

I think people just have too much time on their hands, if they take so much time reading so much into a book.
Whatever happened to just enjoying a great story for the story itself.
I wonder if the Grimm Bothers and good old Hans Christian Anderson, evoked such a public outcry over the fairy tales from long ago.
Lois, maybe one day you will look out your window and see angry villagers with blazing torches and pitch forks shaking The Giver books above their heads, and yelling.
Have a good high powered hose ready, and if you need any help getting rid of the idiots, I'll be glad to assist.
This book is a classic.
I love it, thank you for bringing it into existence.

Kristi Monday, 29 November 1999

It appears that neither of the writers who reference Kjos' "review" have actually read your book or they would understand that the story is about a boy who determines in his mind quite clearly and unequivocally that there are so many things wrong with his society that he determines to leave it.
It saddens me that people would rather judge a work based on someone else's few lines about it than actually read the book and think about it for themselves. And I worry that people who choose to let others think for them have far too much influence.

Lauren Monday, 29 November 1999

I agree with Kelsey and Kristi. It appears as if some reviewers skip the step of reading the book. He speaks as if the book condones infanticide. Did he catch that the hero in the book flees the society and the evils that it has accepted in order to change it back to one worth existing? If anything the book serves to sensitize us to unwarranted governmental control not to desensitize us to it!
It seems to me that anything worth reading is at some point in time banned. As a general rule, if it stirs so little in a person, that no one ever says keep that away from our children, I don't think much time should be wasted on it. (Don't get me wrong, I don't condone everything that has been banned by that "virtue" alone and I certainly enjoy certain forms of drivel from time to time. If I were important in this world someone would certainly paraphrase that thought incorrectly and make me out to be a rebel by nature. ;-))
And perhaps to some degree I am. If I wrote novels I would certainly hope that someone somewhere would want to keep it away from their children. If people think that a book accomplishes nothing, they won't bother to keep it from young minds-- A very sad thing, because it means that we don't question the drivel that we allow our children access to, but limit their exposure to mind-expanding works of thoughtful writers.
What's the point of writing, if you never cause your readers to think of the world in a way they haven't before? And what's the point of reading if you aren't open to that experience?!?
(It appears I've written a blog post myself. Feel free to get rid of any or all of this, but I feel more at peace now that I've responded to this.)

Jes Monday, 29 November 1999

If the people who have enough spare time to misread The Giver would put some of that time towards actually helping our society, wouldn't that be amazing.

Portia Monday, 29 November 1999

Knee jerk reactions by those who willfully refuse to inform themselves BEFORE reacting are so much useless drivel. Your message in The Giver is blatantly obvious to all who would actually READ the book: a totalitarian society where free thought (and free memory) is obliterated is NOT to be tolerated...how they miss that point is beyond me. What really bothers me (and always does) is invoking Christ's name in this manner...he, of all people, would get the point of that book!

Jessica Monday, 29 November 1999

No, no, no. The Giver should definitely be removed from shelves. It is too traumatic for children. Old Yeller should be removed, too. Children should not be exposed to death until it is very personal to them. And we should burn all of their history textbooks, too. If we don't, they may be inspired to form school-yard Klans. I'm on a roll now...let's burn math books, too. All that talk of "dimensions" and "imaginary numbers" must be from the occult. WAIT! I've got an even better idea...instead of encouraging children to explore and imagine, let's make sure everyone is basically the same. Let's control what they read so they don't get any wild ideas. If we can control society, everything will be much better, and by controlling it, nobody will be exposed to any literature that would show them that that's *not* an ideal situation. Right?

Deborah Monday, 29 November 1999

Why is it that people who want to censor books always miss the point completely? I suppose if they were to:
a) Read the book.
b) Exercise critical thinking skills
they might actually GET the irony and not be in such a hurry to pull the book from the shelves.
I suppose that in a free society, when an artist puts a work out there, it then becomes vulnerable to attack.
Fortunately, the vast majority of us love this book, teach this book, and use it to give our students exactly the critical thinking skills that will allow them to make informed judgements about so many of the other wonderful books that are already out there and that are to come.

debrennersmith Monday, 29 November 1999

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I have read all of your works. I have 2 teens that have read all of your works throughout their school experiences or home lives. I asked my son and daughter what they think about The Giver. My 16 year-old daughter said, "It is one of her favorite books still." My 18 year-old son said, "I remember discussing it in school. It was lots of good talking, mom. I read her other books because we talked about this one." As a teacher and a mom, I appreciate it when the teachers of my children discuss books and encourage my two to think. They read these books years ago and remembered the message. You made an impact on my children. Kept your chin up. Ignore the negative energy.

Blake Stacey Monday, 29 November 1999

If you're morbidly curious, you can find the "Kjos Ministries" website through the Internet Archive's Way Back Machine, at http://www.archive.org">http://www.archive.org" rel="nofollow">http://www.archive.org">http://www.archive.org (a handy tool for finding websites which have, for one reason or another, vanished into the ether). It's full of, ahem, eccentricities. Disney's THE LION KING is a vehicle for teaching kids paganism, Halloween is a "celebration of evil", the United Nations is taking away our American rights, the Olympics are subversive and unholy. . . .
The item on THE GIVER can be found under "Articles" (it's called "The Giver: Serving A Greater Whole"). It's. . . interesting. . . in a macabre sort of way.

Erin Monday, 29 November 1999

I first read The Giver in 6th grade and it instantly became my favorite book. Now that I have turned 30, it still is my FAVORITE book. Sometimes I long for you to write it again but for an adult audience. I give the book to anyone I know who hasn't read it. I have tried to keep track of the possibility of making the story into a movie because if done right, I think it could translate amazingly to the silver screen. Sometimes when describing the story to others I say it is kind of a mixture between "The Trueman Show" and "Pleasentville". What is so wonderful to me is how each time I read it, something new becomes apparent to me. I remember reading it the first time and actually longing for the simplicity of a life in the community. Everything would be decided for me, how simple and easy. I wouldn’t have to find a college, I wouldn’t have to worry about relationship heartbreaks and failed real estate purchases. Then I remember reading it again and thinking “wow, power to Jonas for escaping such oppression.” After college I was blessed with the opportunity to play Fiona in a tagged adaptation of your book and it was amazing to delve into the psyche of her character and watch the actors who played Jonas and The Giver wrestle with developing their characters. This story is amazing and I am so grateful for its influence on my life. I also want to commend you on your awesome work on “Gathering Blue” and the “Messenger.” Thank you for your art.

anne Monday, 29 November 1999

My school is holding a book fair, and today a volunteer asked what I, the library media specialist, thought of "The Golden Compass." She wondered if I worried about the message of the book. I replied that the book seemed to provide an adventurous story that was a conduit to questionning. Critical thinking is something only the best books provide, and it is my hope that all students meet at least some of these as they mature. If their comfortable assumptions are threatened, they are jolted into thinking and can only come out stronger in the end.
The Giver nudges its readers to take a new look at the structures of social community - at government - and find the significance in its law-making. Kudos to all the stories that have us look at the world anew.

Chris Monday, 29 November 1999

It seems to me that people of this ilk hate The Giver because it may actually cause them to have a conversation with their child. They may actually have to have a real, adult discussion with their child about how life may not always be as rosy as they have been led to believe, and that they, the child, will have to use their critical thinking skills to decide which way is better. Critical thinking skills that, by the way, are being tought less and less in schools to give extra time to test prep.
As a third grade teacher I do not teach the book nor do I allow even my best readers to read it. I don't think that they are mature enough to handle it yet. I have recommended it to many teachers in my school, some of which do teach it every year.
I first read The Giver in college as a requirement for a Children's Lit. class and it will always be in my list of faves (The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas).
Hope to see you in Ft. Myers.

Sarah Miller Monday, 29 November 1999

Ooh, this makes me bubble. THE GIVER is at the tip-top of my list of Books I Wish I'd Written. So there, Kjos & Co.

Monica Monday, 29 November 1999

I'm really sorry about this bad representation of your book. It makes me sad that people would speak/write before thinking.
I also want to say that this guy doesn't represent the majority of Christians that I know, or even the spirit or ideology of Christianity. I love your books--especially this series--and many of my colleagues do as well (they're even conservative Bible teachers).
Thanks for writing and adding to modern literature.

Steve Weiner Monday, 29 November 1999

Sorry to come to this so late. Criticism like the one you just received about The Giver is the price you pay for creating something that is actually alive. Unfortunately, our society is one that does sqelch free thought(creativity, it seems to me, is similar to free thought, but different). Sure The Giver pushes people's buttons. My daughter all but physically forced me to read it when she was eleven. I don't think she could articulate why she liked it, the book reached some unconscious part of her & when you did that deep, somebody is going to cry foul because they're scared.
--Steve Weiner

Mike Wagner Monday, 29 November 1999

This book is great! I am currently reading it in my E.L.A. class (7th grade) and I got alot of questions so i'm just going to ask you a few and if its possible email me back on my email I put down in the Information needed below.
1. Why is the book named the Giver if Jonas' job is a reciever of Memories?
2. In the movie made of your book it seems alot less suffisticated than in The Giver, is the setting supposed to be old or rather new materials?
"O" and I'm currently only on chapter 8 and looking forward for you to email me back much appreciated

Rae-Anne Minello Monday, 29 November 1999

Me and my friend Chloe just read "the giver." We enjoyed the book, but the ending confused us, we have many ideas of what happened to Jonas and Gabriel, but we would like to know what YOU had in mind for the end. Did he die? did he lose his mind? etc ?

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