Gathering Blue

by: 
Lois Lowry

Kira is still a young girl when her mother dies suddenly. Living in a dystopian future, in which only the strong are valued, Kira's neighbors see orphaned Kira, with her crippled leg, as a liability and plan to cast her out to die. But Kira, who had survived so far because her mother refused to let her go, is determined to survive. And, eventually, her special talent as a weaver is recognized by the government which takes her in, gives her place to live (with running water) and very important work to do. Life seems better, until Kira and some of the other children who work with her start to look more deeply into their work and the people who rule them. They begin to discover that their society is ruled by force, fear, and a harsh enforcement of a social caste system. Kira also learns that this is not the only way to live -- in fact, other societies are kind to those who are not perfect. In another society, people might help rather than scorn her. In the end, Kira must make a choice: fight to improve her own community, or escape to a better one? This book is a companion novel to Lois Lowry's other two YA novels set in dystopian futures: The Giver and The Messenger. All three books push kids to think about the rules, norms, and forces in society, how they form, how they might be changed, and what would happen if they disappeared. The series can be harsh, but it's also thought-provoking.

Reading Level: 
Heads up - topics in this book that might require further discussion: 
Bullying
Death of a parent/close family member
Violence
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Yes