Cover image for Gathering blue
Title:
Gathering blue
Author:
Lowry, Lois.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Laurel-leaf books, [2002]

©2000.
Physical Description:
215 pages ; 18 cm.
Summary:
Lame and suddenly orphaned, Kira is mysteriously removed from her squalid village to live in the palatial Council Edifice, where she is expected to use her gifts as a weaver to do the bidding of the all-powerful Guardians.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
680 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG+ 5.0 7.0 44063.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.9 12 Quiz: 22183 Guided reading level: X.
ISBN:
9780440229490
Format :
Book

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Y FICTION Young Adult Mass Market Paperback Work Room
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Summary

Summary

Lois Lowry's Gathering Blue continues the quartet beginning with the quintessential dystopian novel, The Giver , followed by Messenge r and Son .

Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg, lives in a world where the weak are cast aside. She fears for her future until she is spared by the all-powerful Council of Guardians. Kira is a gifted weaver and is given a task that no other community member can do. While her talent keeps her alive and brings certain privileges, Kira soon realizes she is surrounded by many mysteries and secrets. No one must know of her plans to uncover the truth about her world and see what places exist beyond.


Author Notes

Lois Lowry (nee Lois Ann Hammersberg) was born on March 20, 1937, in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was educated at both Brown University and the University of Southern Maine. Before becoming an author, she worked as a photographer and a freelance journalist.

Her first book, A Summer to Die, was published in 1977. Since then she has written over 30 books for young adults including Gathering Blue, Messenger, the Anastasia Krupnik series, and Son. She has received numerous awards including: The New York Times Best Seller,the International Reading Association's Children's Literature Award, the American Library Association Notable Book Award Citation and two Newberry Medals for Number the Stars in 1990, and The Giver in 1993. She was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by Brown University in 2014.

The Giver is part of a Quartet of books; it is the first book, followed by Gathering Blue, messenger and Son. The Giver has been met with a diversity of reactions from schools in America, some of which have adopted it as a part of the mandatory curriculum, while others have prohibited the book's inclusion in classroom studies. It was also made into a feature film of the same name released in 2014. Lois Lowry also made the Hans Christian Andersen Awards 2016 finalists in the author category.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

After conjuring the pitfalls of a technologically advanced society in The Giver, Lowry looks toward a different type of future to create this dark, prophetic tale with a strong medieval flavor. Having suffered numerous unnamed disasters (aka, the Ruin), civilization has regressed to a primitive, technology-free state; an opening author's note describes a society in which "disorder, savagery, and self-interest" rule. Kira, a crippled young weaver, has been raised and taught her craft by her mother, after her father was allegedly killed by "beasts." When her mother dies, Kira fears that she will be cast out of the village. Instead, the society's Council of Guardians installs her as caretaker of the Singer's robe, a precious ceremonial garment depicting the history of the world and used at the annual Gathering. She moves to the Council Edifice, a gothic-style structure, one of the few to survive the Ruin. The edifice and other settings, such as the FenÄthe village ghettoÄand the small plot where Annabella (an elder weaver who mentors Kira after her mother's death) lives are especially well drawn, and the characterizations of Kira and the other artists who cohabit the stone residence are the novel's greatest strength. But the narrative hammers at the theme of the imprisoned artist. And readers may well predict where several important plot threads are headed (e.g., the role of Kira's Guardian, Jamison; her father's disappearance), while larger issues, such as the society's downfall, are left to readers' imaginations. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-In Kira's community, people's cotts, or homes, are burned after an illness. After her mother dies suddenly, homeless Kira finds her former neighbors coveting the land where her cott once stood. They also resent that Kira, who was born with a deformed leg, wasn't abandoned at birth, in accordance with the society's rules. The Council of Guardians recognizes her skill at embroidery and lets her live in the Council Edifice, the one large old building left after the Ruin. Her job is to repair and restore the robe that the Singer wears during the annual Gathering that recounts the history of her community and to complete a blank section, which is to depict the future. When her young friend Matt journeys "yonder" and returns with the plants Kira needs to create blue dye and knowledge of a wider world, she pieces together the truth. The power-hungry Guardians have lied and manipulated the villagers in order to maintain their status. Kira is united with her father, whom she had believed was dead, but decides to stay at the Edifice until she embroiders a peaceful future on the robe. As in Lowry's The Giver (Houghton, 1993), the young protagonist is chosen by powerful adults to carry out an important task; through the exploration of this responsibility, knowledge grows, and a life-altering choice must be made. Lowry has once again created a fully realized world full of drama, suspense, and even humor. Readers won't forget these memorable characters or their struggles in an inhospitable world.-Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

"Mother?" There was no reply. She hadn't expected one. Her mother had been dead now for four days, and Kira could tell that the last of the spirit was drifting away. "Mother." She said it again, quietly, to whatever was leaving. She thought that she could feel its leave taking, the way one could feel a small whisper of breeze at night. Now she was all alone. Kira felt the aloneness, the uncertainty, and a great sadness. This had been her mother, the warm and vital woman whose name had been Katrina. Then after the brief and unexpected sickness, it had become the body of Katrina, still containing the lingering spirit. After four sunsets and sunrises, the spirit, too, was gone. It was simply a body. Diggers would come and sprinkle a layer of soil over the flesh, but even so it would be eaten by the clawing, hungry creatures that came at night. Then the bones would scatter, rot, and crumble to become part of the earth. Kira wiped briefly at her eyes, which had filled with tears. She had loved her mother, and would miss her terribly. But it was time for her to go. She wedged her walking stick in the soft ground, leaned on it, and pulled herself up. She looked around uncertainly. She was young still, and had not experienced death before, not in the small two-person family that she and her mother had been. Of course she had seen others go through the rituals. She could see some of them in the vast foul smelling Field of Leaving, huddled beside the ones whose lingering spirits they tended. She knew that a woman named Helena was there, watching the spirit leave her infant, who had been born too soon. Helena had come to the Field only the day before. Infants did not require the four days of watching; the wisps of their spirits, barely arrived, drifted away quickly. So Helena would return to the village and her family soon. As for Kira, she had no family, now. Nor any home. The cott she had shared with her mother had been burned. This was always done after sickness. The small structure, the only home Kira had ever known, was gone. She had seen the smoke in the distance as she sat with the body. As she watched the spirit of her mother drift away, she had seen the cindered fragments of her childhood life whirl into the sky as well. She felt a small shudder of fear. Fear was always a part of life for the people. Because of fear, they made shelter and found food and grew things. For the same reason, weapons were stored, waiting. There was fear of cold, of sickness and hunger. There was fear of beasts. And fear propelled her now as she stood, leaning on her stick. She looked down a last time at the lifeless body that had once contained her mother, and considered where to go. Kira thought about rebuilding. If she could find help, though help was unlikely, it wouldn't take long to build a cott, especially not this time of year, summerstart, when tree limbs were supple and mud was thick and abundant beside the river. She had often watched others building, and Kira realized that she could probably construct some sort of shelter for herself. Its corners and chimney might not be straight. The roof would be difficult because her bad leg made it almost impossible for her to climb. But she would find a way. Somehow she would build a cott. Then she would find a way to make a life. Her mother's brother had been near her in the Field for two days, not guarding Katrina, his sister, but sitting silently beside the body of his own woman, the short-tempered Solora, and that of their new infant who had been too young to have a name. They had nodded to each other, Kira and her mother's brother in acknowledgment. But he had departed, his time in the Field of Leaving finished. He had tykes to tend; he and Solora had two others in addition to the one that had brought about her death. The others were still small, their names yet of one syllable: Dan and Mar. Perhaps I could care for them, Kira thought briefly, trying to find her own future within the village. But even as the thought flickered within her, she knew that it would not be permitted. Solora's tykes would be given away, distributed to those who had none. Healthy, strong tykes were valuable; properly trained, they could contribute to family needs and would be greatly desired. No one would desire Kira. No one ever had, except her mother. Often Katrina had told Kira the story of her birth-the birth of a fatherless girl with a twisted leg-and how her mother had fought to keep her alive. "They came to take you," Katrina said, whispering the story to her in the evening, in their cott, with the fire fed and glowing. "You were one day old, not yet named your one-syllable infant name-" "Kir." "Yes, that's right: Kir. They brought me food and were going to take you away to the Field-" Kira shuddered. It was the way, the custom, and it was the merciful thing, to give an unnamed, imperfect infant back to the earth before its spirit had filled it and made it human. But it made her shudder. Katrina stroked her daughter's hair. "They meant no harm," she reminded her. Kira nodded. "They didn't know it was me." "It wasn't you, yet." "Tell me again why you told them no," Kira whispered. Her mother sighed, remembering. "I knew I would not have another child," she pointed out. "Your father had been taken by beasts. It had been several months since he went off to hunt and did not return. And so I would not give birth again. "Oh," she added, "perhaps they would have given me one eventually, an orphan to raise. But as I held you-even then, with your spirit not yet arrived and with your leg bent wrong so that it was clear you would not ever run-even then, your eyes were bright. I could see the beginning of something remarkable in your eyes. And your fingers were long and well-shaped-" "And strong. My hands were strong," Kira added with satisfaction. She had heard the story so often; each time of hearing, she looked down at her strong hands with pride. Her mother laughed. "So strong they gripped my own thumb fiercely and would not let go. Feeling that fierce tug on my thumb, I could not let them take you away. I simply told them no." "They were angry." "Yes. But I was firm. And, of course, my father was still alive. He was old then, four syllables, and he had been the leader of the people, the chief guardian, for a long time. They respected him. And your father would have been a greatly respected leader too had he not died on the long hunt. He had already been chosen-to be a guardian." "Say my father's name to me," Kira begged. Excerpted from Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.