In Messenger, the third book in the Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry (Lexile: 720; Interest Level: Grades 5-8), we find the story of Matty, Kira's friend in Gathering Blue, who has lived in Village for some time, being cared for, and caring for, a blind man known as Seer. Village, another community, has always been open to outsiders and welcoming of anyone who needs a place in the world, even the blind and crippled. But something evil is creeping into Village, pushing the residents to vote to shut Village down. Matty seems to be the only person who can still come and go as he pleases, and he runs messages through the woods to neighboring communities, such as the one where Kira lives. As Matty makes one more trip through Forest to bring Kira to Village, he has only his knowledge of Forest and the special power he discovers within himself to protect Kira on her trip through Forest.
I really can't seem to stop reading these books, and I wonder how the last two stories connect to the first. Readers who have read the first two of this series will find themselves searching for this one as well. (169 pages)
In this second book of the Giver Quartet, Lois Lowry creates another community in which people have banded together in a post-war society. In Gathering Blue (Lexile: 680; Interest Level: Grades 3-6), the people in Kira's community are cold, hungry, and mean. They look up to the strong, and they shun the weak. This is a problem for Kira, who was born with a bad leg. She was protected as an infant and child, but now her mother has died, and the community thinks she has nothing to offer except the space she lives in, which they would like to use to create a pen for the children.
When a particularly mean woman chooses to force Kira out, the Leaders hear the arguments and then choose a different path for Kira, asking her to learn to dye yarns and use the sewing skills her mother taught her, and the special knack she has for sewing, to work on the Singer's Robes for the annual celebration. What Kira doesn't know is the price this honor will cost her. Is she willing to pay the price for a comfortable place to live? (240 pages)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.