I’ve just finished the first book in my Book Awards Reading Challenge, The Giver. The Giver is a children’s book, written for kids about Maya’s age (aka, probably found in the young adult section in the library), and it won the Newbery Medal in 1994. The Giver is sort of science fiction, set in the future, and at first appears to be a Utopian setting. The main character is Jonas, a 12-year old boy. At the age of 12, children learn what their careers are going to be. A group of elders watches them for a couple of years prior to them turning 12, while they volunteer throughout the community, so that the elders can see where the childrens’ interests and skills lie. Jonas is selected for a very rare role, that of the Receiver of Memory. In this Utopian society, memories have been lost to most of the population. Children only have contact with their parents until they grow up and move out, and thus there are no stories handed down, no grandparents, no history. The elders know that some wisdom comes from knowing what happened before, however, so they keep the Receiver of Memories around, so they can ask him or her for advice when something new happens, something that they haven’t dealt with before. The Receiver of Memories has memories going back to perhaps the beginning of time, memories of starvation, war, disease, happiness, joy, love, holidays, everything.
I could go on and tell you more, but I don’t want to ruin the story for you. This was an excellent book, a quick, easy read, and one that I would recommend to anyone.