Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Open endings & The Giver

Readers (and viewers) typically have very strong feelings - whether positive or negative - about stories with open endings. During discussions after storytimes, students frequently want to know what happened after the story ended; some are happy to speculate, while others crave resolution.

Lois Lowry's classic Newbery-winning novel, The Giver, is part of a quartet that recently concluded with the publication of Son. In this recent interview, Lowry describes how many students wrote to her about the famously ambiguous ending to The Giver, pleading for resolution:

Lowry recalled, “I would write back and say, ‘You have to use your imagination,’ and they didn’t like that.”

The New York Times dubbed her “The Children’s Author Who Actually Listens to Children” in a deeply moving article about her monumental body of work. I particularly loved this quote:

“The ability to understand other people’s feelings,” Lowry said. “As an encompassing gift that a kid could have — or a human — that could be the one that could save the world.”

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