Squirrels hide nuts for the long winter. Bears pack on fat for hibernation. Here at Sixoh6, we prepare for winter by stocking up on books. To help you find the best books to gift this holiday season, we’re sharing guest posts from some of our favorite parents of babies and toddlers, children, and teens. We’ve asked our guest bloggers to share books on a theme of their choice. We hope, whether you are young or old and whether you have a lot of books to give this year or just a few, you’ll find something here that delights you and that you’ll enjoy a Jólabókaflóðið (“Yule Book Flood”) this winter.
Today’s guest blogger is Grace, a 14-year-old from Kansas. She shares with us why Lois Lowry’s The Giver series (not just the first title, which you might be familiar with) is worth reading right now.
The Giver by Lois Lowry is a fictional, four-book series connected by a force so strong, yet so simple: Anyone has the power to change the world. Based around a supposedly utopian world, the phrase “beauty’s only skin deep” is well-meant. No matter how “good” the outside is, there’s always darkness lurking below. And you’d be surprised how fast it can emerge onto the surface, leaving even the most innocent scarred. Childhood is a place to enjoy life’s beauties, not dread for what lies beneath them. It’s amazing how humans are all connected on a biological level. But society isn’t fueled by biology- it’s fueled by us.
The first book of the series is The Giver. In a world so destined for perfection, it’s left human emotion behind. No more hatred, no more violence, no more envy, no more love. An adolescent boy is faced with the responsibility of becoming an adult. As childhood slowly drips away, Jonas starts to see the imperfections of the Community he lives in. Not until he’s given his Life Assignment as the Receiver of Memory does Jonas realize the dark secrets of his broken life. The worst part? It’s all still a utopia to everyone around. I love this book because it shows the effects of childhood innocence. It’s very well written and is a story with heart and soul written all over it. All these years we thought being color blind would take away the prejudice of our society, but this book shows that color blindness has only given us the weight of innocence we don’t notice is there, until it’s gone.
The second book, Gathering Blue is about a young girl. Kira lives in a world where having flaws means being shut out. She is almost put to death when her superiors discover her gift. Weaving. A simple art form, yet it unleashes the truth of her village. She wasn’t supposed to find out. Raised in a community with such routine, Kira has to really fight if she wants to move beyond the ordinary. This book is great because it tells the story of someone who knows she deserves a place and is not afraid to fight for it. It’s a real eye opener of how perseverance and not letting go can take you places never before imagined.
The third book, Messenger is a heart filling story about a young boy. He’s much too young to be faced with the struggles of the world, but he’s the only one strong enough to take them on. His home was once a place of rehabilitation and support. Matty himself came from a broken world to gain a better life. But someone, or something, is taking over–not just the land itself but the people within Village. Their minds. Their hearts. Matty tries to make things better but the deep, dark woods is no place for a child to roam alone. This book is so amazing because it shows a story of a community working hard to bring back peace, and it’s so relatable to our lives now. It really shows the fault of human emotion; with it, it brings the beauty of human emotion.
And the last book in the series is Son. When Claire was found on the shore, those who found her had no idea she came from a world with such differences; that she carried a product at age fourteen; that she had a son. But what became of him, she didn’t know. They want her to forget, but the memory draws her further. And now she’ll stop at nothing to find her son, even if that means letting go of something she never imagined had such value. This book is a wonderful conclusion to The Giver series because it ties all four books together, and you get a compelling story as well as an unforgettable ending.
These four books are an amazing representation of the second side to human nature. A seemingly horrific dystopia can mistakably become a miraculous utopia for those who fail to notice. Because after all, it’s not what you look at.
It’s what you see.
Need more great books in your life? Want to make a thoughtful donation to a local little free library, school library, or church library? Consider these great books!
Read Erica’s suggestions for books about St. Nicholas and St. Lucia here.
Check out O’s suggestions for books about wild animals here.
Read Ruby’s suggestions for Star Wars-themed books here.
Learn why Saffron thinks that Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books are the greatest here.
And check out Robin’s suggestions for books to help kids appreciate art here.