Teen Book Club Ideas: The Giver
The Giver is a science-fiction book, written by Lois Lowry. We fell in love with her writing after reading Number the Stars and decided to add her futuristic novel to one of our book club lists.
I’m glad we did – the girls and I fell in love with it!
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The first few chapters had us laughing as the author showed us this society so different from our own. Food being delivered at specific times, children getting bikes at assigned ages, rules for how young girls wear their hair based on their age, kids being assigned their life’s work when they turn twelve, families given exactly two children, etc.
As we read further, we quickly realized just how many lessons there are in the pages. As with Lois Lowry’s other books, The Giver, makes you think hard about your beliefs and gives you lots of things to talk about with your kids.
Reading The Giver with teens gives you the opportunity to discuss issues like:
- group safety through control
- the need for history (good and bad)
- your role in society
If you haven’t read the book, it centers around Jonas, an eleven-year-old boy (almost twelve) who lives in a family unit, with a mother, father, and sister.
In this community, there is no hunger, pain, color, fear, or choice. Years ago, the elders turned the community over to one of sameness, so no member would suffer. However, taking away the pain also took away the joy.
When he turns twelve, Jonas receives his official assignment as an adult, the role of Receiver of Memory, a highly unique and honored position. He meets the current Receiver, who asks to be called the Giver. See, when sameness came, the memories of the past didn’t just go away. Someone had to receive them, hold on to them, to make sure the community and its leaders didn’t make the same mistakes again.
It is the Receiver who bears the weight of the world’s pain, joy, sadness, laughter, peace, war, etc.
As the Giver begins his job of transmitting the memories to Jonah, the twelve-year-old realizes exactly what kind of community he lives in and grows increasingly frustrated with his friends and family for their lack of understanding and the elders for making the choice they did years ago.
He is soon faced with a decision that will alter his life as well as those around him forever.
Bring the Book to Life with Activities
After you read the book together, take some time to get creative and turn it into a lesson. Here are some of the things we did as a family and with our friends during our book club.
1. Watch The Giver movie and compare it to the book with our helper – Comparing a Book to its Movie.
My girls couldn’t wait to see this movie. We had some interesting conversations about their expectations, as well as how the two resembled and differed from each other.
2. Check out Scholastic’s lesson plan for The Giver.
This is a fabulous book guide. We used many of these ideas for our book club meetings.
- It includes:
- Information about Lois Lowry
- Discussion questions for each chapter
- A review of the story elements (plot, setting, themes, etc.),
- Vocabulary words
- Writing assignments
- Hands-on activities
3. Complete an art project
After reading The Giver, learn about tessellations and complete your own. I loved watching the kids create these. It was fascinating to see just what image jumped out at them when their tiling was complete.
More Books and Activities for Tweens and Teens
- Follow along on Phileas Fogg’s epic journey in Around the World in 80 Days.
- Draw a life-size longhouse and make some yummy historical recipes while reading The Indian in the Cupboard.
Have your teens read The Giver? What did they think?
Find even more of our favorite books from our book club, along with activities and discussion questions you can use with your middle & high school students.
Jeffrey selected “The Giver” as the book he wanted to bring along on our trip. I look forward to re-reading in anticipation of reading the other titles in the series very soon.
Love this series! We’re all on the same page (!)…a fellow homeschooling Mom and I are leading an online book group for teens around The Giver quartet as a way of exploring World History (ie: what memories are worth saving and passing on?). Here’s the link if any of your readers are interested: http://waldorfinspiredlearning.com/new-teen-book-club/
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