external image 0385732562.01._SY190_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgGathering Blue
by Lois Lowry
Delacorte Press, 2000
215 pages

Annotation: Kira's mother has died, and she is left to fend for herself in a community where survival of the fittest is law. Crippled since birth, the future looks dim for Kira until she is given an important task by the community leaders. Though her work ensures her survival, she begins to discover that the Council of Guardians hold many secrets from the villagers - and from Kira.

Topics: loss, self-reliance, friendship, dystopia

Thematic statement: You can't openly trust your leaders.

Range of appeal: Grades 6 to 8.

Plot: When Kira's mother dies from disease, her neighbors take her land and leave Kira for dead. Instead, she appeals to the Council of Guardians, who spare her for a very important task: restoring the ceremonial robe for the Singer. Each year, the Singer sings the history of the world for all the villagers to hear in a multiple day long song. As Kira restores the robe using the weaving skill her mother taught her and that seems to come naturally, she begins to question her fate and that of Thomas, her friend who is chosen to restore the Singer's staff, and Jo, a toddler taken from her family because she was selected to be the new singer. When Kira is given an opportunity to escape the dystopic community, she must choose between her friends and her freedom.

Evaluation/ Mini-rationale: All the main characters in this book are between the ages of 8 and 12. I think the futuristic setting could be difficult for students at the elementary levels, especially since the society has declined from the current norm.

Thought Questions: Although social darwanism is cruel, isn't it more efficent? How is Kira's community different from Jonas's in The Giver? How are they alike? Why are these two societies from different ends of the spectrum so similar?

Additional Notes: This is a companion book to The Giver and The Messenger.