The Giver, By Lois Lowry: Is it worth reading?

Is the Giver by Lois Lowry a Good Book

You might be asking yourself the question: Is Lois Lowry book, The Giver a good book? That’s a great question. I suppose it all comes down to preferences.

If you like dystonian novels with young central characters and an intriguing plot, the answer is … Yes, this is a darn good novel.

It was a Newbery Medal winner in 1994 and sold over 10 million copies (1) Its popularity in one testament to the answer.

You can learn more about utopian and dystopian novels here.

The Giver: Does this summary sound good?

At first, the reader sees the society as utopian. All appears well in the scientifically controlled environment. Jonas, the twelve  year old, central character, live a life where pain and disappointment is neutralized.

Emotions have been eradicated. In a society where life roles are assigned at the age of 12, Jonas learns he has been selected to inherit the important role of the Receiver of Memories.

Jonas must be the keeper of all memories before ‘sameness’ when people made independent decisions about pleasure and pain, and good and evil. He even sees color for the first time.

It will be his job to offer counsel to the community with all the wisdom he will acquire.

Jonas Faces an Internal Struggle

But, there’s a problem. Jonas is challenged by the new emotions imparted on him and struggles between the concepts of good and evil. After all, how can there be one without the other?

His little sister, a young naive character, offers the reader insight as to how their society operates. She asks questions and shares observation. Jonas’ parents give her answers reminding her about the way things are and what’s expected with a “just because it’s the way it is” sort of approach.

Jonas has difficulty accepting the constraints of this community: colorless, emotionless, and compliant.

The Giver, by Lois Lowry, takes you on Jonas’ introspective journey as he battles the morality of the seemingly utopian society. It leads him to question: Does the means justify the end? Along the way, it’s revealed the society is not a utopia, but rather a dystopia.

Listen to Chapter 1 of Lois Lowry’s: The Giver and you can decide if The Giver is a book you think is good enough to put on your reading list!

The Giver, Chapter 1, By Lois Lowry

Is The Giver, by Lois Lowry Worth a Read?

The book won a few awards:


I suppose you have to dive in a see what you think about the writer’s craft before you can make a judgement against it, but according to its history and how it was received by young adults, it look like this one is a winner!

If you already read The Giver, by Lois Lowry, and you liked it, it may want to consider three other novels:

Together, with The Giver, these four books make up The Giver Quartet. Are you brave enough to tackle four novels?

Holocaust Extension Materials

Night Featured Image

Below are some links for you to investigate. Visit these site and build your background knowledge in an area of interest related to the Holocaust and Wordl War II.

Holocaust Video Bank

Get your head phones. There are great videos with Holocaust Survivors on the site.

Holocaust Museum

This is loaded with a boatload of important dates and events surrounding and including the Holocaust.

Elie Wiesel Video Play List

Many interviews are shared on this YouTube Play List. Explore Elie Wiesel’s experience from a first hand account.

Enhanced Annotation with the Aristotelian Triangle

Ethos pathos Logos


The Rhetorical Transaction :

According to Aristotle, the rhetorical transaction consists of three basic components:

Ethos (Author/Point of View)

representing the author’s ability to reveal his or her credibility in the text, demonstrates ethics

  • Note how the author establishes a persona
  • Note how the author establishes credibility

· Note any revelation of the author’s credentials or personal history

Pathos (Intended Audience)

representing the author’s ability to appeal to the audience through the text through the use of emotions and other methods

  • Note the primary audience for the text
  • Note the emotional appeals the author makes
  • Note the author’s expectations of the audience


Logos (Text/Language)

representing the author’s ability to reveal logic and reason in the text;

  • Note the claims the author makes, the exigency.

· Note the data the author provides in support of the claims.

  • Note the conclusions the author draws.

When reading nonfiction, note the language the author uses to establish logos, ethos, and pathos.Annotating everything you read for the Rhetorical Appeals, also called modes of persuasion, will reveal information about the author, the author’s purpose, and the author’s methods of persuasion and argumentation.


Your goal: apply these new annotation tools to a primary document…




Martin Luther King, I have a Dream Analysis



More Possibilities for Analysis: Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Drummer Boy of Shiloh: Audio Literature

Drummer Boy of Shiloh Audio Literature

Access the “Drummer Boy of Shiloh” on audio below.

During the Civil War young men went into battle. Joby, the main character, in the expert from Ray Bradbury’s book Drummer Boy of Shiloh, is only a boy, not yet a man, and he must face the battle with only a drum.

Trying to ready himself for the battle, he tries to make sense of the current conditions surrounding him on this mysterious night.

To his surprise, he is approached by the General who comforts Joby by defining Joby’s role played in the battle to come

As you read and annotate this story, look for …

  • Character traits
  • Character description
  • Character motivation
  • Word Choice
  • Metaphors
  • Theme (We’re still in the survival theme)
  • Symbolism (this one is new to our annotation processes)

As with other stories – and the movie we watched – we observed the need for communication and discussed how communication leads to understanding and ultimately sympathy and/or empathy.

Big Ideas in This Story

These big ideas are present in this story, as well.

With thoughts of survival we considered the following quote:

Our need for self-preservation grows stronger when face with death.

With thoughts of understanding we considered this question:

Was the person’s action(s) justifiable for their circumstance?

Before Reading

Before you read an annotate the text, be sure to apply your pre-reading strategies to gather some insight about the story and generate a logical prediction.

While Reading

Have the copy of your story and a pencil in hand. While you listen, stop the audio and mark up your text. Focus on the intention of engaging with the story and connecting with Joby and his current situation.


“Drummer Boy of Shiloh”, by Ray Bradbury [Audio Literature]

After Reading

Answer the Reading Check Questions and apply the Rules of Incorporation.

Then complete the plot summary on page 6 of your packet.

Daily Class Work: 10/16

the learning cafe


Advisory is the Time to

Sharpen the Saw: Ideas –

  1.  Review Notes
  2.  Study for Test
  3.  Practice Math
  4.  Review Assignment Notebook and upcoming week
  5.  Check Your Grades
  6.  Read from your own book



  • Monday 10/8 – Cumulative Review Begins of Vocabulary Units 103
  • Tuesday 10/2 – Understanding Check: Subordinate Clauses ( May count as SA)
  • Wednesday 10/3 – Summative Assessment for “Black Boy”
  • Thursday 10/4 -Summative Assessment on Stage 1-4 PowerWriting
  • Friday 10/5 – Book Fair


Today’s Class Work


You continued working on “Black Boy”. Working independently though this process means everyone is working at their own pace. You had the option of listening and annotating or annotating on your own.

Suggestion given to prepar for tomorrow’s text: Listen to the story one more time.

Click Here to Listen to the Story

Our collective goal is to complete the story and accompanying work by Tuesday at the end of class.


Tomorrow the list of words being tested on the cumulative review on Friday will be listed here.

Come back and click on Daily Class Work: 10/17 to access the list.

You worked on some vocabulary workbook pages: 17,18,27,28, 37.38: Choosing the Right Word on these pages. You’ll continue these tomorrow in class.

Click Here to Access Quadrant Charts


PowerGraph Decontruction

You watched a video reviewing the stages of PowerWriting for first quarter. This structure is now your 8th Grade Writing Standard. From this point forward, all written responses both long and short require the application of the PowerWriting stucture.

You reverse engineered a PowerGraph from your PowerGraph Example Packet. YOu’ll continue investigating these mentor text before your PowerWriting test which has been moved to Friday this week,


  • Read Novel (20 minutes)
  • Complete Quadrant Chart if not completed in class


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Thank You Ma’am [Audio Literature}

Thank You Ma’am, by Langston Hughes, reveals the power of empathy. Reading along with the following audio and annotate your story as you read.

Annotate for the following:

  • Characterization
  • Diction
  • Tone/Mood
  • Theme
  • Author’s Craft
  • Summary Statements

Before you get started…

Did you pre-read the passage? … Skim, annotation of questions, writing a prediction… if not,

Pre-read then read the passage

Thank You Ma’am Audio



Answer the reading check questions on loose lead using Incorporation to write your responses.

Black Boy, by Richard Wright [Characterization]

Black Boy Literary Analyais

Reading, Theme 1 Survival

The short excerpt, “Black Boy”, by Richard Wright is is as tragic as it triumphant. Richard, a young boy faces his fear in order to survive. His mother appears harsh. Is she a good mother or not?  This will be for you to decide.

How does Richard succeed in his situation? Was it instinct or intellect that made him victorious? Again, this will be for you to observe and draw a clear conclusion.


It is an autobiographic account of his life in the 1940’s, so it is in first person.

Active Reading

Before Reading

Before you read preview the text. Read the reading check questions. Annotate them. Then generate a prediction 5+ sentences long. Do this in your reading spiral.

While Reading

While you read, annotate for word choice, diction, and syntax, the sentence structure. In addition, investigate the characters. Take time to consider the relationship between character motivation and character action.

After Reading

We will have an extensive discussion about the text. Be prepared to contribute your insights, observations, and annotations. After discussion, you will generate a written response to this story. Your prompt selections are below.

What to Do

After previewing the test and writing a prediction…

  • Listen and annotate text.
  • Annotate for the following:



Character description

Character Motivation

Character Change

Consider the Following Questions While Reading

  1. How did Richard change?
  2. What word best describes each of the characters?
  3. Would Richard’s mother be classified as a ‘good mother’?
  4. How did the battle of intellect vs. instinct present itself in this passage?



When You’re Finished…

After reading the text, write a literary response on loose leaf. Select one of the questions listed above. Write a monster paragraph providing a well organized, logical analysis, providing text evidence in support of your claim.

Review required elements and features of our 8th grade standards of writing. use the provided checklist to self asses your writing. Revise and edit before submission.

Need a copy of the text?

You can print up a copy for annotation. CLICK HERE


Drummer Boy of Shiloh, by Ray Bradbury [Audio Literature]

Ray Bradbury clearly communicates the power of compassion as the relationship between Joby and the General unfolds the night before battle.

As you read this story mark up your text for literary devices, and take time to focus on character change.

Annotate your text for the following:

  • Diction
  • Tone/Mood
  • Characterization
  • Repetition
  • Theme
  • Summary Statement

Apply pre-reading strategies before reading the story.


Drummer Boy of Shiloh, By Ray Bradbury [Audio Literature]


Fighting off the Sharks for a Fish

Theme 1: Survival – Story #2

Fighting off the Sharks for a Fish is the second story in the Survival Theme.

One of our goals in Theme 1 is to observe the character for transformation. Character analysis is our focus in first quarter, This includes identifying character change and then providing evidence in support of our observations.

Read and listen as you take a journey with the man who managed to survive the perils of the open seas.
To Access the complete text click the link below. Scroll down to page 76 of 117 in the PDF document. You will read Chapter 8, title the same as our short story.


Listen to the Audio

If you’d prefer to read along while listening, play the video below.

After Reading “Fighting off the Sharks…”

After you read, respond to one of the prompts below. Create a PowerFrame structured for a 1,2,3,2,3,2,3,1 or a 1,2,3,4,2,3,4,1 Complete the PowerFrame and Then Write your PowerGraph. Both pieces of writing will be submitted for review.

Select either Prompt #1 or Prompt #2

Prompt #1: Character Change

Throughout each piece of literature there is change. We see change in many forms: mental, physical, spiritual, intellectual to name a few. In what way did the man in the raft change? Write a paragraph beginning with an assertion about how the character change. In the body of the paragraph prove he changed by providing evidence from the text and explanations as to how your evidence supports your assertion.

Prompt #2: Courage

Universal ideas can be drawn from text. Many times they are derived from traits we observe in the main characters. In this story the man can be described as ‘courageous”. Write a paragraph, including a clearly state assertion making a claim that he did, in fact, display courage throughout the story. In the body of the paragraph prove he changed by providing evidence from the text and explanations as to how your evidence supports your assertion.

Once you’ve read the story, write a PowerFrame



Annotations: Only the Beginning

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Annotating Text Will Increase Your Comprehension

Reading and talking are inputs for information. When you input more information in your brain, you expand your thoughts and create more meaning about old ideas while creating new ideas.

Annotating text is a tool to help you build your understanding through shared learning experiences.

Overview of Annotations: Only the Beginning


This, my friend, it called thinking!

The whole point of reading literature, an any other text for that matter, is to give yourself new experiences to grow your brain.

Only YOU can decide to give your attention to reading for meaningful reasons. Here’s the simple three step process of reading to grow your brain…

Brain Growing Process of Active Reading


  • Read
  • Annotate
  • Discuss

This seems simple, an it can be, but you already know that each step can be broken down into smaller action steps, (as you will come to experience over the course of this year).

Keep working on your participation in what we do in our Learning Lab, and you will be a master at all the steps of active reading before you know it!

Related Posts


Happy Reading!


Instinct vs. Intellect … What’s It All About?

This week we started investigating literature for theme. In the short story, “Sea Devil” by Arthur Gordon, we see an extensive use of literary devices.

Literary devices help authors develop their craft of writing. When used skillfully they also support the presentation of theme.

Theme is a way for authors to communicate with readers.

If you want to investigate the idea of instinct vs intellect further here is an excerpt from an article you may find interesting…

Human Mind vs Animal Brain: Why so Different

Both evolutionists and religionists agree there is “something” about mankind that differs from animals. Each offers explanations, certain the other side is wrong. How can you know which is correct?

What is the human mind? How does it relate to the brain? Why do we not see animals with minds? Most people do not understand the plain answers that have been available for thousands of years.

The argument can be summarized as the “mind-body problem.” It has been recognized that the physical characteristics of the human brain do not warrant the extreme creative and processing power that defines human ingenuity.

Read the rest of this post. Click Here.

Theme in Literature

Find Out More About the Fight or Flight Response

Find out more about the fight or flight response. You’ll need headphone for this. Watch the video and answer the questions after you watch it.

CLICK HERE to watch the video.