Gathering Blue

Gathering Blue

4.2 736
by Lois Lowry

View All Available Formats & Editions

Lois Lowry once again creates a mysterious but plausible future world. It is a society ruled by savagery and deceit that shuns and discards the weak. Left orphaned and physically flawed, young Kira faces a frightening, uncertain future. Blessed with an almost magical talent that keeps her alive, she struggles with ever broadening responsibilities in her quest for…  See more details below


Lois Lowry once again creates a mysterious but plausible future world. It is a society ruled by savagery and deceit that shuns and discards the weak. Left orphaned and physically flawed, young Kira faces a frightening, uncertain future. Blessed with an almost magical talent that keeps her alive, she struggles with ever broadening responsibilities in her quest for truth, discovering things that will change her life forever.
As she did in THE GIVER, Lowry challenges readers to imagine what our world could become, how people could evolve, and what could be considered valuable. Every reader will be taken by Kira’s plight and will long ponder her haunting world and the hope for the future.   This ebook includes a sample chapter of MESSENGER.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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 Fen--the village ghetto--and 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.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Lowry has created a haunting alternative society in Gathering Blue just as she did in The Giver—that is not to say that it is the same society in both books. The Giver is ideal for 4th -6th grade students and has become a classic in children's literature; Gathering Blue is more complex, less obvious, and a better YA choice. The plant that provides the blue color Kira needs as she dyes threads is not easily found; it is outside of the authoritarian society in which she survives. In the village she knows, the adults are abusive, the children surly, the hierarchy unquestioned. She was born with a twisted foot, which would mean sure death except that her mother protected her and promised that she would be a contributing member of the society. Now, as the story opens, her mother is dead and the adolescent Kira is brought before the council on trial, accused of being useless, condemned to death. A council member defends her on the basis of her skill with cloth, a skill learned from Kira's mother, who was responsible for a crucial part of the annual rituals that hold this culture together. Kira is saved from death, brought into a comfortable Council Edifice, where she eventually meets two other creative young people—a wood carver and a singer—who are also there to prepare for the ceremonies. The greater theme Lowry explores here concerns the meaning of creativity and how artists can be controlled by authoritarian regimes. One of the many good features of this story are the hints about the destroyed past preserved in the rituals no one understands fully. What could this mean, "ravaged all, bogo tabal, timore toron, totoo now gone?" KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book,recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2000, Houghton Mifflin, 215p, 00-024359, $15.00. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
Gathering Blue is the intense story of Kira, a young weaver girl with a crippled leg. This tale is set in a in a harsh and brutish future world where the handicapped and weak are shunned or abandoned as having little to offer. In fact, many are taken to a "Field of Leaving" to lie among the bodies of the already dead. It is here the story opens After her mother's death, Kira is tending her mother's body for the customary time. But when she returns from the Field of Leaving, she finds that the village women want to drive her out of her home and take over its gardens now that Kira's mother is no longer there to protect her. Kira confronts the ringleader with the law regarding conflicts, and the disagreement is taken to the mysterious Council of Guardians, which makes all the laws for the village. When Kira finds herself in the council's hands, she is puzzled that they seem so interested in her skill with a needle and thread. But she is even more surprised by the council's decision to remove her from the village and make a new home for her in the ancient building that houses the Council of Guardians. Here, Kira is given a comfortable room much finer than anything she had ever known in the village. She is given fine clothes and all the food she needs. She is also given a task of great importance: repairing an ancient robe that tells in pictures the history of the world. This robe has been worn for generations by a singer who, once a year, sings a long song for the whole village, a retelling of what was, what is, and what shall come to pass. Soon, she finds there are other children who live within the council's walls, children who are orphans like her and have their own specialskills: Thomas the woodcarver, and Jo the singer. Like Kira, they are all set on a task of restoration. With a job that allows her to use her skills and friends that have similar tasks involving their own artistic skills, Kira is extremely content at first. But she soon realizes that the council's grip on all the children is much tighter than she realized. The children's artistic abilities had blossomed until now. Now their own ideas are being strangled because they can do no more with their talents than what the council says. Kira must decide whether she should stay and continue serving the council or go to a place she has heard of, a place where people live free and where a rare plant grows that produces blue dye—the one color that has grown faded on the Singer's robe. This book is simply amazing. It brings rich pictures to the reader's mind and has a feel reminiscent of The Giver (Houghton Mifflin, 1993), another of Lowry's books. Lois Lowry has already won many awards and I think this one will win her even more. 2000, Houghton Mifflin, $15.00. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Brittany Rogers — The Five Owls, March/April 2001 (Vol. 15 No. 4)
Children's Literature
With characteristic grace, Lowry pulls her reader into this tale of a devastated world in which judgments are harsh and the dead are left to rot in the fields. Here we find Kira, her leg twisted from birth and her heart, impossibly, nourishing hope. Kira is in a struggle for survival, and the world she inhabits has been crafted with care. The narrative voice is compelling, and in the end, the reader is left with the satisfying sense that in the creation of beauty out of cruelty lies infinite potential. Those who appreciated The Giver will find here another readable, futuristic fantasy, set in a world of flaws and fortunes that bear contemplation in relevance to our own. 2000, Houghton Mifflin. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
This outstanding novel is set in a futuristic hunter-gatherer society in which primitive laws and barbaric custom hold sway. Fatherless thirteen-year-old Kira, almost killed at birth because of her twisted leg, was saved when her mother intervened. After her mother dies, Kira turns to the village's Council of Guardians for help when the village women try to kill her for her meager plot of land. The Council spares Kira because her extraordinary weaving talents will allow her to complete the ceremonial robe worn in the village's annual gathering by the village Singer. Kira is sent to live in the Council offices, where she meets Thomas, a young woodcarver using his exceptional skills to complete the Singer's staff, and Jo, a six-year-old being trained to take over the duties of the Singer. The three prodigies, however, soon begin to lose the joy they had previously taken in their gifts. As the annual gathering draws near, Kira and Thomas discover that their parents and Jo's might have died at the Council's hands so that the Council could control the children's remarkable talents. Lowry has created a world diametrically opposed to the technologically centered, rigidly structured world of The Giver (Houghton, 1993/VOYA August 1993). This title similarly leaves its young protagonist at a crossroads, and one hopes that Kira's story will continue. The author weaves in details that bring Kira's world to life as seamlessly as Jonas's in The Giver. Readers can see and feel Kira's excitement when she finally acquires the ability to make blue, a color that has eluded her people. This extraordinary novel is remarkable for its fully realized characters, gripping plot, and Lowry's singular vision of afuture in which technology does not predominate but has instead been essentially discarded. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Houghton Mifflin, 224p, $15. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Leah J. Sparks

SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-As Gathering Blue (HM, 2000) begins, a harsh, barbaric community of the future challenges the right of Kira to remain a part. Orphaned by the recent death of her mother, Kira has been cursed by a deformed leg and blessed by unsurpassed artistic talent. Facing the Council of Guardians, she pleads her case and finds an important role that plunges her deep into the heart of this enigmatic civilization. Lois Lowry, the consummate yarn-spinner, has deftly woven this cautionary tale so reminiscent of her Newbery tour-de-force, The Giver. She takes a bleak and colorless landscape, embroiders it richly with her storytelling prowess, and even treats us to an introductory spoken passage filled with insight into her thoughts and motivations for writing the story. Gathering Blue lends itself well to the medium of audiobook. The unusual-yet-familiar vocabulary used by the villagers can be recognized readily through the expert reading of actress Katherine Borowitz. The story is loquacious, mysterious, and thought provoking a must-have for young adults. The audio version is certain to be popular on circulation lists and with teachers.-Lisa Denton, J.S. Russell Junior High School, Lawrenceville, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lowry returns to the metaphorical future world of her Newbery-winning The Giver (1993) to explore the notion of foul reality disguised as fair. Born with a twisted leg, Kira faces a bleak future after her mother dies suddenly, leaving her without protection. Despite her gift for weaving and embroidery, the village women, led by cruel, scarred Vandara, will certainly drive the lame child into the forest, where the "beasts" killed her father, or so she's been told. Instead, the Council of Guardians intervenes. In Kira's village, the ambient sounds of voices raised in anger and children being slapped away as nuisances quiets once a year when the Singer, with his intricately carved staff and elaborately embroidered robe, recites the tale of humanity's multiple rises and falls. The Guardians ask Kira to repair worn historical scenes on the Singer's robe and promise her the panels that have been left undecorated. Comfortably housed with two other young orphans—Thomas, a brilliant wood-carver working on the Singer's staff, and tiny Jo, who sings with an angel's voice—Kira gradually realizes that their apparent freedom is illusory, that their creative gifts are being harnessed to the Guardians' agenda. And she begins to wonder about the deaths of her parents and those of her companions—especially after the seemingly hale old woman who is teaching her to dye expires the day after telling her there really are no beasts in the woods. The true nature of her society becomes horribly clear when the Singer appears for his annual performance with chained, bloody ankles, followed by Kira's long-lost father, who, it turns out, was blinded andleftfor dead by a Guardian. Next to the vividly rendered supporting cast, the gentle, kindhearted Kira seems rather colorless, though by electing at the end to pit her artistic gift against the status quo instead of fleeing, she does display some inner stuff. Readers will find plenty of material for thought and discussion here, plus a touch of magic and a tantalizing hint (stay sharp, or you'll miss it) about the previous book's famously ambiguous ending. A top writer, in top form. (author's note) (Fiction. 11-13)

From the Publisher

"Lowry returns to the metaphorical future world of her Newbery-winning The Giver. . . . Plenty of material for thought and discussion here, plus a touch of magic and a tantalizing hint about the previous book’s famously ambiguous ending." (6/15/00) Kirkus Reviews with Pointers

"Lowry is a master at creating worlds, both real and imagined, and this incarnation of our civilization some time in the future is one of her strongest creations." —Booklist, starred review (6/1/00) Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

Read More

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Giver Quartet Series , #2
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Sales rank:
680L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

“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 leavetaking, 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 suddenly 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.

Copyright © 2000 by Lois Lowry

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Lowry returns to the metaphorical future world of her Newbery-winning The Giver. . . . Plenty of material for thought and discussion here, plus a touch of magic and a tantalizing hint about the previous book’s famously ambiguous ending." (6/15/00) Kirkus Reviews with Pointers

"Lowry is a master at creating worlds, both real and imagined, and this incarnation of our civilization some time in the future is one of her strongest creations." —Booklist, starred review (6/1/00) Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Gathering Blue 4.2 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 737 reviews.
Amy-la More than 1 year ago
Pain. Thats all Kira feels. Pain from her crippled leg, pain from her mother's death, and pain from being deemed useless in a community where physical prowess means everything. Lois Lowry brings us yet another riveting tale about the future. But this time it is different. Where as The Giver shows a future where there is no color and no difference, Gathering Blue is a world full of color. It is about dealing with trying to find a place in a society that does not want you, that can't use you. This village appears to bring out the worst of human nature. The villages are full of greed and jealousy and hate, and they have no place, not in the village and not in their hearts, for the newly orphaned Kira, who can't do the hard labor in a village that demands for it. As Lois Lowry weaves the story of Kira, our young heroine, we are swept along on a journey of self-discovery. And it is one that will lead us to find the dark secretes that lurk in human nature. Gathering Blue is an unforgettable story, one that will leave you breathless and wanting for more.
booksatruestory More than 1 year ago
Gathering Blue is about an orphan girl, Kira, with a gift of dyeing and weaving threads. The community and the characters are completely different from The Giver. The story feels nothing like The Giver until you get to the end, where Lois Lowry ties the two books together in a beautiful way. And yes, you get to find out at the end what happens to Jonas. I liked contrasting this society with that of Jonas’s from The Giver. In some ways this community is worse off because there is poverty, hunger and no education. But in some ways this community is better than Jonas’s because there is color, personality, deep family love, and some freedom. Not a lot of freedom, but some. I loved the naming system in this world. I found it very creative. How many syllables your name has is a status of how old they are. I loved how beautiful the writing was. Lois Lowry is a master and making you turn the pages. With every page you get a sense of something else being not quite right (as she said at her signing) and that’s what kept me glued to the story. She goes into a lot of depth of what the main character is thinking and feeling which I loved. The story sucked me in all the way until the ambiguous ending. I have a feeling she likes those… She said at her signing that she likes leaving things up to the imagination. If the ending is done right, I say that I have to agree. And Lois knows how to end it just right. I found this book to be another powerful story from her about family and love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a Language Arts teacher for 5th/6th grade. We have read both The Giver and Gathering Blue. Both books are excellent teaching tools for the classroom. My classes loved them both. I am ordering The Messenger to preview as I may also add that book to my classroom.
Rosemarie Goldman More than 1 year ago
Im only eleven years old and it is one of my favorite books!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only reason why i read this book is because for school i had to read a science fiction book. I hated the book at first it was boring and slow. In the middle of the book things speeded up. To tell you the truth this is the best book ever! And if you dont like it in the begining keep reading it gets better! THIS IS A MESSAGE TO THE AUTHOR OF GATHERING BLUE PLEASE MAKE A SECOND BOOK I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FURTURE!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kira the crippled but brave girl is a social outcast in a society who rejects non-laborers. Not only that but she is orphanded and is now forced to grow up and take rrsponsibilities. Later kira expects to fight for her life in court but unexpectedly ends up having a higher place in the city. But is it really what it appears? Is this the right place for Kira? Find out in the smashing novel Gathering Blue and meet kiras new friends that she meets along the way. Over all this book is truley amazing. Really well thought out and will have you reading untill the last page then wanting more. Very good book reports too! Has all of those element that teachers love!
Sara Hovis More than 1 year ago
I loved this as much as The favorite book. I couldnt put it down.
Patrick Jones More than 1 year ago
I haven't finished it yet but it's AWESOME!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gathering Blue is okay, but you have to read The Giver first.
emma-bear_ More than 1 year ago
Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry, was a book about a young girl, named Kira, in a society slightly after the one we live in today. With her mother being dead, and her father taken by "beasts", she is now an orphan. She has to go up to the council of elders to see whether or not she should be put to death. With the ruling given as no, she has to now live as a servant for the community, threading and dyeing clothes. She meets new friends, and learns new talents. Eventually, she learns that there are secrets in this village, that even she doesn't know. I enjoyed the book, and the whole "I need to make blue" thing, but where was the connection to "The Giver"? That book was fantastic. This book was its "companion" and it was only average. The only connection I find is that they are both cities in the future that are nothing like our own. What would have been a good ending is if they showed us an epilouge saying something along the lines of, "20 years later... Kira and Thomas are married with a baby boy named Jonas..." I know that it wouldn't be THE Jonas, but it would still be a connection to "The Giver". Overall, this book was alright, but nowhere near as good as "The Giver".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My mom bought me this book and I thought it looked really stupid! But i stated reading and I started to love it! I enjoyed how a girl with such little strength accomplished so much! One thing is dont read it before you go to bed it is not a thing to read before you go to bed, I loved this book you have to read it (:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some people say that these books arent related to eachother. Well, they are SO WRONG! The first two books dont seem very related, but you will see if you read the other ones. They will all fall into place!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
REALLY ENJOYED this book #2 of The Giver quartet. Although it starts off slow, the reader will thoroughly appreciate the detailed chapters that lead to its climax towards the very end. Looking forward to the continuation which is The Messsenger.
sissy_sassy More than 1 year ago
wow this is the second book i read by Lois Lowry and i loved it...its an amazing story, i also read the Giver, before this one and now im on to the next book in the trilogy. definitely recomend this book. just dont read it at night unless you have a lot of time to spare, :) i think i have found a new Favorite only thing i did not like is the end, it just leaves u wanting more but other than that i loved the book...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Everyone says that this book is the sequel to The Giver, but it is not. It is a companion. This book is awesome if you want to learn a good life lesson.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book, thinking it was a sequal to "The Giver" and that it would pick up where Jonas left off. I admit, I was a little dissapointed that it was a whole different book. But, I didn't want to waste 6$, so I read on. I was supprised that I started to really enjoy this book, not as good as "The Giver" but still worth the 6$.
TheSue More than 1 year ago
Wasn't sure how it related to the first book until the end. Then it all came together and I couldn't wait to read The Messenger, which was an incredible book as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book for kids 8 and older. This is kind of part of a series, First book: the giver Second book: gather blue Third book: the messanger
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im on chapter 16 and this book is amazing! Can't wait to read what's next
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a summer assinment for school and it was okay but i liked it alot! :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I as many others was made by my school to read this book. The book was amazing. I totally suggest that all of you book lovers should read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'd give it a 3 out of 5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A teacher read us The Giver in 1995 (7th grade), I hated it. Found it too disturbing. But in 2009, I thought Gathering Blue sounded good. I read it and liked it. I then reread The Giver (saddened by it this time...still distubing) and appreciated the story. Then read The Messenger. I recommend all three, the connect, and are worthy the readings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book, but was`nt it suppose to be the companion book to The Giver? If you read The Giver read on but if not stop reading this, read TheGiver, then finish this. Maybe this is where Jobas ended up. If so then Louis Lowrey should have mentioned him. I liked this book but se no resemblince between these two books.
Manaal Sheikh More than 1 year ago
If u like/ love The Giver then u would love Gathering Blue !!!!!!! When ur done with those 2 go and read the Messenger !!!!!!!!!!!!