As a shy, introverted, scholarly child (long ago) I don't know what I would have done without libraries! My family moved often. I was always the new kid in town. The library always offered me my first and most important friendship: the place where I felt right at home. I still feel that way today, about libraries.
Lily appeared, wearing her nightclothes, in the doorway. She gave an impatient sigh. 'This is certainly a very LONG private conversation, ' she said. 'And there are certain people waiting for their comfort object.' Lily, ' her mother said fondly, 'you're very close to being an Eight, and when you're an Eight, your comfort object will be taken away. It will be recycled to the younger children. You should be starting to go off to sleep without it.' But her father had already gone to the shelf and taken down the stuffed elephant which was kept there. Many of the comfort objects, like Lily's, were soft, stuffed, imaginary creatures. Jonas's had been called a bear. Here you are, Lily-billy, ' he said. 'I'll come help you remove your hair ribbons.
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Time goes on, and your life is still there, and you have to live it. After a while you remember the good things more often than the bad. Then, gradually, the empty silent parts of you fill up with sounds of talking and laughter again, and the jagged edges of sadness are softened by memories.
and I want you all to remember-that you must not dream yourselves back to the times before the war, but the dream for you all, young and old, must be to create an ideal of human decency, and not a narrow-minded and prejudiced one. That is the great gift our country hungers for, something every little peasant boy can look forward to, and with pleasure feel he is a part of-something he can work and fight for." Surely that gift-the gift of a world of human decency-is the one that all countries hunger for still. I hope that this story of Denmark, and its people, will remind us all that such a world is possible.
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Finally he steeled himself to read the final rule again. He had been trained since earliest childhood, since his earliest learning of language, never to lie. It was an integral part of the learning of precise speech. Once, when he had been a Four, he had said, just prior to the midday meal at school, 'I'm starving.' Immediately he had been taken aside for a brief private lesson in language precision. He was not starving, it was pointed out. He was hungry. No one in the community was starving, had ever been starving, would ever be starving. To say 'starving' was to speak a lie. An unintentioned lie, of course. But the reason for precision of language was to ensure that unintentional lies were never uttered. Did he understand that? they asked him. And he had.
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A stage adaptation of The Giver has been performed in cities and towns across the USA for years. More recently an opera has been composed and performed. And soon there will be a film. Does The Giver have the same effect when it is presented in a different way: It's hard to know. A book, to me is almost sacrosanct: such an individual and private thing. The reader brings his or her own history and beliefs and concerns, and reads in solitude, creating each scene from his own imagination as he does. There is no fellow ticket-holder in the next seat. The important thing is that another medium-stage, film, music-doesn't obliterate a book. The movie is here now, on a big screen, with stars and costumes and a score. But the book hasn't gone away. It has simply grown up, grown larger, and begun to glisten in a new way.
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Things could change, Gabe, " Jonas went on. "Things could be different. I don't know how, but there must be some way for things to be different. There could be colors. And grandparents, " he added, staring through the dimness toward the ceiling of his sleepingroom. "And everybody would have the memories." "You know the memories, " he whispered, turning toward the crib. Garbriel's breathing was even and deep. Jonas liked having him there, though he felt guilty about the secret. Each night he gave memories to Gabriel: memories of boat rides and picnics in the sun; memories of soft rainfall against windowpanes; memories of dancing barefoot on a damp lawn. "Gabe?" The newchild stirred slightly in his sleep. Jonas looked over at him. "There could be love, " Jonas whispered.
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He remembered that in the art books he had leafed through at Leader's, many paintings depicted death. A severed head on a platter. A battle, and the ground strewn with bodies. Swords and spears and fire; and nails being pounded into the tender flesh of a man's hands. Painters had preserved such pain through beauty.
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Now he saw another elephant emerge from the place where it had stood hidden in the trees. Very slowly it walked to the mutilated body and looked down. With its sinuous trunk it struck the huge corpse; then it reached up, broke some leafy branches with a snap, and draped them over the mass of torn thick flesh. Finally it tilted its massive head, raised its trunk, and roared into the empty landscape.
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We're all on our own, aren't we? That's what it boils down to. We come into this world on our own- in Hawaii, as I did, or New York, or China, or Africa or Montana- and we leave it in the same way, on our own, wherever we happen to be at the time- in a plane, in our beds, in a car, in a space shuttle, or in a field of flowers. And between those times, we try to connect along the way with others who are also on their own. If we're lucky, we have a mother who reads to us. We have a teacher or two along the way who make us feel special. We have dogs who do the stupid dog tricks we teach them and who lie on our bed when we're not looking, because it smells like us, and so we pretend not to notice the paw prints on the bedspread. We have friends who lend us their favorite books. Maybe we have children, and grandchildren, and funny mailmen and eccentric great-aunts, and uncles who can pull pennies out of their ears. All of them teach us stuff. They teach us about combustion engines and the major products of Bolivia, and what poems are not boring, and how to be kind to each other, and how to laugh, and when the vigil is in our hands, and when we have to make the best of things even though it's hard sometimes. Looking back together, telling our stories to one another, we learn how to be on our own.
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She was the only doctor's wife in Branford, Maine, who hung her wash on an outdoor clothesline instead of putting it through a dryer, because she liked to look out the window and see the clothes blowing in the wind. She had been especially delighted, one day, when one sleeve of the top of her husband's pajamas, prodded by the stiff breeze off the bay, reached over and grabbed her nightgown around the waist.
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You remember that I told you it was safer not to know. But, ' he went on, as his hands moved wuth their sure and practiced motion, 'I will tell you just a little, because you were so very brave.' Brave?' Annemarie asked, surprised. 'No, I wasn't. I was very frightened.' You risked your life.' But I didn't even think about that! I was only thinking of-' He interrupted her, smiling. 'That's all that brave means-not thinking about the dangers. Just thinking about what you must do. Of course you were frightened. I was too, today. But you kept your mind on what you had to do. So did I.
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Henry glared at Anastasia. 'You quit planning on a rich husband, Anastasia. You're gonna get rich on your own. You and me, if we want husbands, fine. But we won't need them. Like our mothers. My mom could do just fine being a waitress, and your mom could do just fine being an artist. They got husbands 'cos they want them. That Bambie, now maybe she'll need a husband. But not you and me. Got it?
The man that I named the Giver passed along to the boy knowledge, history, memories, color, pain, laughter, love, and truth. Every time you place a book in the hands of a child, you do the same thing. It is very risky. But each time a child opens a book, he pushes open the gate that separates him from Elsewhere. It gives him choices. It gives him freedom. Those are magnificent, wonderfully unsafe things. [from her Newberry Award acceptance speech]
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You remember that I told you it was safer not to know. But,' he went on, as his hands moved wuth their sure and practiced motion, 'I will tell you just a little, because you were so very brave.' Brave?' Annemarie asked, surprised. 'No, I wasn't. I was very frightened.' You risked your life.' But I didn't even think about that! I was only thinking of-' He interrupted her,smiling. 'That's all that brave means-not thinking about the dangers. Just thinking about what you must do. Of course you were frightened. I was too, today. But you kept your mind on what you had to do. So did I.
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I've always been interested in medicine and was pleased when my brother became a doctor. But after thinking seriously about that field, I realized that what intrigued me was not the science, not the chemistry or biology of medicine, but the narrative - the story of each patient, each illness.
I often compare myself as a kid to my own grandchildren, who are around 11 and 14 now. That's the age kids usually read my book. And I remember myself; we'd gone through a world war. My father was an army officer so I was aware of what was going on. But I wasn't bombarded with images of catastrophe like many kids are today.
I write books because I have always been fascinated by stories and language, and because I love thinking about what makes people tick. Writing a story... 'The Giver' or any other... is simply an exploration of the nature of behavior: why people do what they do, how it affects others, how we change and grow, and what decisions we make along the way.
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When I wrote 'The Giver,' it contained no so-called 'bad words.' It was set, after all, in a mythical, futuristic, and Utopian society. Not only was there no poverty, divorce, racism, sexism, pollution, or violence in the world of 'The Giver'; there was also careful attention paid to language: to its fluency, precision, and power.
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I liked the feeling of love,' [Jonas] confessed. He glanced nervously at the speaker on the wall, reassuring himself that no one was listening. 'I wish we still had that,' he whispered. 'Of course,' he added quickly, 'I do understand that it wouldn't work very well. And that it's much better to be organized the way we are now. I can see that it was a dangerous way to live.' ...'Still,' he said slowly, almost to himself, 'I did like the light they made. And the warmth.
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I would say that most of my books are contemporary realistic fiction... a couple, maybe three, fall into the 'historic fiction' category. Science fiction is not a favorite genre of mine, though I have greatly enjoyed some of the work of Ursula LeGuin. I haven't read much science fiction so I don't know other sci-fi authors.
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