Books Kids Fiction The Giver (The Giver Quartet #1)

The Giver (The Giver Quartet #1)

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0.0
 
4.6 (72)
3085   0
Author(s)
Age Range
10+
Release Date
April 26, 1993
ISBN
0440219078
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Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

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Overall rating 
 
4.6
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4.6  (72)
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This book was crucially character and perception-shaping for me when I first read it in sixth grade. Harsh, realistically poignant, and impactful--I credit this book with instilling in me a prudent but intense suspicion of anything 'utopian.' For all the story's bleakness and probing look at opression, the ending was both harrowing and satisfying.

Due to the content, I would not recommend it for children younger than 12, and advise parental participation in it's exploration. But I believe it to be too important to society to be missed out on.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
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N/A

Evocative And Valuable

This book was crucially character and perception-shaping for me when I first read it in sixth grade. Harsh, realistically poignant, and impactful--I credit this book with instilling in me a prudent but intense suspicion of anything 'utopian.' For all the story's bleakness and probing look at opression, the ending was both harrowing and satisfying.

Due to the content, I would not recommend it for children younger than 12, and advise parental participation in it's exploration. But I believe it to be too important to society to be missed out on.

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I had to read this in 7th grade and 4 years later i still remember it clearly. I really loved reading this book and my 13 year old brother who doesnt read much enjoyed it too so it must be a good book.
Sasha Shamblen Reviewed by Sasha Shamblen May 03, 2013
Top 100 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (44)

Enjoyable

I had to read this in 7th grade and 4 years later i still remember it clearly. I really loved reading this book and my 13 year old brother who doesnt read much enjoyed it too so it must be a good book.

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This is a great story to use to introduce dystopian novel-type stories. It also enhances the power and significance of basic, personal human emotion and knowledge. Free will is a gift and should not be taken lightly. And furthermore, individuality makes each person special in their own way which is how I would use this story in the classroom; to teach about separate significance strengthened together in humanity.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
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N/A
Celia Reviewed by Celia April 02, 2013
Top 1000 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (2)

The Giver

This is a great story to use to introduce dystopian novel-type stories. It also enhances the power and significance of basic, personal human emotion and knowledge. Free will is a gift and should not be taken lightly. And furthermore, individuality makes each person special in their own way which is how I would use this story in the classroom; to teach about separate significance strengthened together in humanity.

Good Points
“The Giver” by Lois Lowry is a utopian-type of story in which everyone lives how they are supposed to without questioning the decisions may by the leaders of the community and in return, they never experience physical pain and hunger. It is utopian-type because in reality, no world can possibly be perfect without the taking of some human aspect. Likewise, human emotion is not experienced or even considered.

The central story is based around a boy named Jonas who is nearing the age of twelve in which he will be given his adulthood profession and begin his training. His family unit is like all others in the community where the most intimate actions they share as a family, is sharing of feelings, sharing of dreams, etc. during certain times of the day. In aging, if adults are deemed to be socially capable, they have the option of receiving a spouse, not by their preference, and further one son and one daughter creating a family unit. None of those in the family units are actually related by blood to each other though and again, this is only an option if social requirements have been met. This also applies to newborn babies; if they can sleep through the night without crying and behave as a well-behaved newborn baby should, they are given to a family unit and in failure to do so, they are ‘released’ from life. This detail is important because Jonas’ father brings home a newborn who needs a little extra attention to learn how to act socially correct so he may live and be nurtured by a family unit in the future. Even though the family tries to avoid it, Jonas in particular gradually grows to love this baby who they call Gabriel. When Jonas reaches the age of twelve, he receives the occupation of Receiver of Memory which is a most honored position however he doesn’t understand this until he meets his mentor, the current Receiver of Memory or Giver, which he is to become. After schooling, he meets regularly with the Giver who knows all according to the leaders through memories he has received and books he has read, and he passes this information to Jonas through dream-sharing. Through the process, Jonas becomes aware of human emotions, the sensations and reality of what weather was like, war and violence, disease, music, color; things that people in the community could not even fathom. Explaining these things doesn’t make any sense to Jonas until he has felt them for himself. With these realizations he now understands, he is more curious of why his community is the way it is, what releasing is and why it occurs, and injustices that take place in the community. He gets frustrated, upset, and saddened now because those in his community have no idea about anything really; they are satisfied right where they are. When Gabriel is ultimately scheduled for release, Jonas’ fire is ignited and he takes action against this society he lives in. He takes Gabriel and leaves to Elsewhere, where he and Gabriel will be safe to feel, to love, to live in different weather patterns, with joy at times and pain in others. In this endeavor, Jonas creates memories of his own and he saves Gabriel’s life as well as his own.

While reading, I was both intrigued and frustrated simultaneously; intrigued because I was curious to see how the protagonist would rise above and go beyond the norm to challenge injustices which occurred, and frustrated because the characters could not understand how wrong their world was in controlling them. Sameness is what is acceptable as it is also what is most easily controlled to keep the society functioning as it does but in the instances in which twins were born, the child who weighed more was given the chance for a family unit while the other was released from life. I was most troubled by this because I am a twin and if this were true for me and my twin, my twin sister would not be here and what people don’t understand is a bond is formed between twins in the womb, not easily broken. Also, when love is mentioned, Jonas’ mother expresses the term ‘love’ as being ‘overused’ unintentionally making Jonas sad. Humans are created with human emotion—we cry when we’re born—to deny this is to deny are very selves which is how the people are in this story. To give all this to one person is empowering to them in the same way it is burdensome.
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Somebody recently told me they didn’t like Lois Lowry’s "The Giver" because it was a dystopian novel disguised as a utopian book. I gotta say to that: “Gurl, whachoo smokin’?!”

I thought it was obvious that this book is about a totally undesirable dystopian future. Who wants to be told as a preteen what he is going to be doing for the rest of his life no matter what he might think. Who wants to be told, as in this "Giver" “utopia,” that she will be forced to give birth for the rest of her life?! Talk about labor pains. This is so completely socialism gone awry that even sight is affected as nearly every living human being now sees in black and white.

Now I don’t know about you, but that certainly does not seem like a utopia to me. Lowry writes this book in such a brilliant way, however, that you can sympathize with the people of this "Giver" world for thinking they are living the perfect life. No war, no disputes, no violence or fighting of any kind. With each essential task assigned to a community member, these people can live in peace knowing that their village will continue to function for years to come. Without that pesky free will to get in the way, nobody need ever worry about anything ever again.

We know, however, that free will ain’t all that bad. It’s that knowledge that makes it glaringly obvious this world is no utopia, but a dystopia. The only time free will is ever okay to be taken away is when wearing the Sorting Hat. That little guy knows which Hogwarts House I should belong to way better than I ever will.

With a thought-provoking plot and characters I can’t help but connect with, "The Giver" is a definite must read.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Jason Gallaher Reviewed by Jason Gallaher September 25, 2012
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (106)

What Gives?: Utopia or Dystopia

Somebody recently told me they didn’t like Lois Lowry’s "The Giver" because it was a dystopian novel disguised as a utopian book. I gotta say to that: “Gurl, whachoo smokin’?!”

I thought it was obvious that this book is about a totally undesirable dystopian future. Who wants to be told as a preteen what he is going to be doing for the rest of his life no matter what he might think. Who wants to be told, as in this "Giver" “utopia,” that she will be forced to give birth for the rest of her life?! Talk about labor pains. This is so completely socialism gone awry that even sight is affected as nearly every living human being now sees in black and white.

Now I don’t know about you, but that certainly does not seem like a utopia to me. Lowry writes this book in such a brilliant way, however, that you can sympathize with the people of this "Giver" world for thinking they are living the perfect life. No war, no disputes, no violence or fighting of any kind. With each essential task assigned to a community member, these people can live in peace knowing that their village will continue to function for years to come. Without that pesky free will to get in the way, nobody need ever worry about anything ever again.

We know, however, that free will ain’t all that bad. It’s that knowledge that makes it glaringly obvious this world is no utopia, but a dystopia. The only time free will is ever okay to be taken away is when wearing the Sorting Hat. That little guy knows which Hogwarts House I should belong to way better than I ever will.

With a thought-provoking plot and characters I can’t help but connect with, "The Giver" is a definite must read.

Good Points
Thought-provoking plot and characters you can't help but get drawn into.
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I wonder why utopias are so frightening.

Jonas has a childhood many people would wish for. He has structure, order, purpose, affection. He is never hungry or frightened. He knows his place in the world, and he is content with it. Then, as he turns 12, he is selected for a special job, one that destroys his world by making him look deeper into it, to understand why it happens the way it does, what the moral cost of his comfort is.

I should have read this book years ago. My mom finally gave up and bought it for my Kindle because we were talking about THE TERRORISTS OF IRUSTAN, and bounded societies.

The Sameness reminded me of the dys/utopia in Madeline L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME, where all the children bounce balls at the same time, and all the mothers call the children in at the same time. There is obviously this thread of fear and horror in both books about being required to be regimented, or pay a terrible price. I wonder if it's a coincidence that THE GIVER and WRINKLE IN TIME were written by women at a time when women were fighting to get out of the regimented and nicey-nicey world. To go on one's own, beyond the boundaries of civilization and rules, is fearful and dangerous and you don't know how it's going to end, but sometimes you have to head for the woods, or the giant throbbing brain, whichever is relevant. Interestingly, Lowry's character, Jonas, is male, and I would perhaps have found the story less interesting if he were female, because the choice he made might be considered traditionally feminine. The gender roles were actually pretty interesting through the whole book.

I thought the characters were sketched in lightly, but the plot and problem were compelling, and it almost makes sense that personality was not something Jonas thought a lot about. Lowry did a great job of capturing the incuriousity some children have about adult things.

Read if: You want to think about what you are used to and the value or lack thereof in compliance and equality.

Skip if: You are horrified by utopias, your issues are not about fear of being the same.
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

An old-fashioned dark future

I wonder why utopias are so frightening.

Jonas has a childhood many people would wish for. He has structure, order, purpose, affection. He is never hungry or frightened. He knows his place in the world, and he is content with it. Then, as he turns 12, he is selected for a special job, one that destroys his world by making him look deeper into it, to understand why it happens the way it does, what the moral cost of his comfort is.

I should have read this book years ago. My mom finally gave up and bought it for my Kindle because we were talking about THE TERRORISTS OF IRUSTAN, and bounded societies.

The Sameness reminded me of the dys/utopia in Madeline L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME, where all the children bounce balls at the same time, and all the mothers call the children in at the same time. There is obviously this thread of fear and horror in both books about being required to be regimented, or pay a terrible price. I wonder if it's a coincidence that THE GIVER and WRINKLE IN TIME were written by women at a time when women were fighting to get out of the regimented and nicey-nicey world. To go on one's own, beyond the boundaries of civilization and rules, is fearful and dangerous and you don't know how it's going to end, but sometimes you have to head for the woods, or the giant throbbing brain, whichever is relevant. Interestingly, Lowry's character, Jonas, is male, and I would perhaps have found the story less interesting if he were female, because the choice he made might be considered traditionally feminine. The gender roles were actually pretty interesting through the whole book.

I thought the characters were sketched in lightly, but the plot and problem were compelling, and it almost makes sense that personality was not something Jonas thought a lot about. Lowry did a great job of capturing the incuriousity some children have about adult things.

Read if: You want to think about what you are used to and the value or lack thereof in compliance and equality.

Skip if: You are horrified by utopias, your issues are not about fear of being the same.

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The prose is sparse and clean, but the ideas are complex. I loved Jonas and it was interesting to slowly discover a new way of thinking along with him. The story will engender discussions about the value of emotions, even those that are difficult, and what happens when we try to scrub our lives clean of all complications. And the ending is fabulous!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0

Thought-provoking

The prose is sparse and clean, but the ideas are complex. I loved Jonas and it was interesting to slowly discover a new way of thinking along with him. The story will engender discussions about the value of emotions, even those that are difficult, and what happens when we try to scrub our lives clean of all complications. And the ending is fabulous!

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Reader reviewed by becster

 


The Giver


By Lois Lowry


Review by Rebecca Stephens


     The Giver is about a boy named Jonas who lives in a community where everything is very organized and thought out, Jonas is from an ordinary family unit. He just doesnt realize how unordinary hell become.


     Jonas is an Eleven. Soon hell be a twelve, an adult. Twelve is the most important ceremony there is. When you become a twelve you get assigned a job. Hes thought about the many different jobs he could end up with. None of them are very enticing, some less then others. But, Hes not worried. The Elders never make mistakes.


    Jonas is selected, not assigned, to be the new Receiver. He has no idea what that is. Hes scared; the Chief elder said that it involved pain. She also said that its a great honor. Jonas has no idea what to expect, but this is his new assignment.


     He soon finds out that a Receiver holds the worlds memories. Some of them are truly painful, such as war. Others are much more enjoyable, such as a strange wonderful thing called Christmas.


    The current Receiver is a kind old man. He has told Jonas to call him the Giver, because he will be the one to give Jonas all the memories he now holds.  He has shown Jonas that the people around him dont really feel. They know nothing. Jonas knows pain, and suffering, love, and joy. But they dont. 


     Jonas must find a way to stop this. To make them see what is truly like to feel. But to find out you must read the book, and decide for yourself what it is like to live in his world.

     This book is very enjoyable, and different.  I can honestly say Ive never read a book that is remotely similar. Jonas is brave, smart, and a great character all together. The Giver gave me a new perspective on life.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader February 22, 2011
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

Black and White emotions

Reader reviewed by becster

 


The Giver


By Lois Lowry


Review by Rebecca Stephens


     The Giver is about a boy named Jonas who lives in a community where everything is very organized and thought out, Jonas is from an ordinary family unit. He just doesnt realize how unordinary hell become.


     Jonas is an Eleven. Soon hell be a twelve, an adult. Twelve is the most important ceremony there is. When you become a twelve you get assigned a job. Hes thought about the many different jobs he could end up with. None of them are very enticing, some less then others. But, Hes not worried. The Elders never make mistakes.


    Jonas is selected, not assigned, to be the new Receiver. He has no idea what that is. Hes scared; the Chief elder said that it involved pain. She also said that its a great honor. Jonas has no idea what to expect, but this is his new assignment.


     He soon finds out that a Receiver holds the worlds memories. Some of them are truly painful, such as war. Others are much more enjoyable, such as a strange wonderful thing called Christmas.


    The current Receiver is a kind old man. He has told Jonas to call him the Giver, because he will be the one to give Jonas all the memories he now holds.  He has shown Jonas that the people around him dont really feel. They know nothing. Jonas knows pain, and suffering, love, and joy. But they dont. 


     Jonas must find a way to stop this. To make them see what is truly like to feel. But to find out you must read the book, and decide for yourself what it is like to live in his world.

     This book is very enjoyable, and different.  I can honestly say Ive never read a book that is remotely similar. Jonas is brave, smart, and a great character all together. The Giver gave me a new perspective on life.

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Reader reviewed by Christy

"The Giver," by Lois Lowry is a terrific book.  The novel is about a boy growing up in a utopian society.  This novel has won several awards and after reading it, you'll understand why.  The story is riveting and the author uses language that will help develop a young adult's expanding vocabulary.  "The Giver" is a book that I use in my middle school Language Arts class.  It's a book that the students enjoy reading, so much so that I have trouble keeping them from reading ahead!  But, it's also a great novel for adults and I never tire of reading it every year with my students.  "The Giver" is part of a loose trilogy with the companion novels "Gathering Blue" and "The Messenger."  All three are tremendous novels, but I would recommend reading "The Giver" first.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader August 19, 2010
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

The Giver

Reader reviewed by Christy

"The Giver," by Lois Lowry is a terrific book.  The novel is about a boy growing up in a utopian society.  This novel has won several awards and after reading it, you'll understand why.  The story is riveting and the author uses language that will help develop a young adult's expanding vocabulary.  "The Giver" is a book that I use in my middle school Language Arts class.  It's a book that the students enjoy reading, so much so that I have trouble keeping them from reading ahead!  But, it's also a great novel for adults and I never tire of reading it every year with my students.  "The Giver" is part of a loose trilogy with the companion novels "Gathering Blue" and "The Messenger."  All three are tremendous novels, but I would recommend reading "The Giver" first.

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Reader reviewed by Amanda Martin

This book is basically the best read for the young and the old, no matter of what race or belief. It explains the balance of life, for example if you eliminate anything, you also eliminate the good along with the bad. You take away the emotion of hate, which takes away love. This world that the book creates makes you think and wonder. Scares you into seeing the world in true black and white. This book shall make you greatful that we have the bad and the good, without it, life would be boring.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader May 26, 2010
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

When life is litterly black and white

Reader reviewed by Amanda Martin

This book is basically the best read for the young and the old, no matter of what race or belief. It explains the balance of life, for example if you eliminate anything, you also eliminate the good along with the bad. You take away the emotion of hate, which takes away love. This world that the book creates makes you think and wonder. Scares you into seeing the world in true black and white. This book shall make you greatful that we have the bad and the good, without it, life would be boring.

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Reader reviewed by Rachel

The Giver


                The Giver, written by Lois Lowery really got me thinking.  The book is set in the future in a place that has a thing called Sameness.  Virtually everyone is alike and the lives that each person lives are almost exactly like everyone else.  Except for Jonas.  Jonas is chosen to be the next Receiver of memories.  He is nervous at the prospect of this because it will make him apart from the rest of the community and can cause him pain.  Jonas, not knowing what to expect, goes into his first day of work.  He meets a man named The Giver.  The Giver is going to train Jonas and give him all the memories from the past.  The community needs The Giver so that there is someone to go to when a problem arises.  The Giver looks into his memories and offers them council on what they should do.  Jonas gets to experience snow and sledding at his first day of work.  These things are all new to him because his community doesnt have snow or even hills.  It was discerned long ago that such things could potentially be dangerous so they should be discarded.  Jonas is also introduced to feelings.  Real feelings and emotions, which is something that these people dont have.  Jonas sees why he is going to be isolated from everyone else.  He and The Giver are the only people who actually feel.  Sure, parents have affection for their children but its not real love.  Sure, people get hurt but only physically and never emotionally.  The physical pain can be cured in an instant too.  This is what got me thinking.  These people live in a place that doesnt have seasons or geography.  They dont have love.  It is physically impossible for them to feel that way because of all the things they are sheltered from.  It makes Jonas upset because he loves his family and there is no way for them to return it or for him to show them how much he loves them.  The only one who understands him is The Giver.  Because of all this they decide that they should do something.  It is risky and the possibility stands that if they fail the consequences would be dire.  But, if it works everything would be better. 

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
a reader Reviewed by a reader March 07, 2010
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (20052)

Life without Love

Reader reviewed by Rachel

The Giver


                The Giver, written by Lois Lowery really got me thinking.  The book is set in the future in a place that has a thing called Sameness.  Virtually everyone is alike and the lives that each person lives are almost exactly like everyone else.  Except for Jonas.  Jonas is chosen to be the next Receiver of memories.  He is nervous at the prospect of this because it will make him apart from the rest of the community and can cause him pain.  Jonas, not knowing what to expect, goes into his first day of work.  He meets a man named The Giver.  The Giver is going to train Jonas and give him all the memories from the past.  The community needs The Giver so that there is someone to go to when a problem arises.  The Giver looks into his memories and offers them council on what they should do.  Jonas gets to experience snow and sledding at his first day of work.  These things are all new to him because his community doesnt have snow or even hills.  It was discerned long ago that such things could potentially be dangerous so they should be discarded.  Jonas is also introduced to feelings.  Real feelings and emotions, which is something that these people dont have.  Jonas sees why he is going to be isolated from everyone else.  He and The Giver are the only people who actually feel.  Sure, parents have affection for their children but its not real love.  Sure, people get hurt but only physically and never emotionally.  The physical pain can be cured in an instant too.  This is what got me thinking.  These people live in a place that doesnt have seasons or geography.  They dont have love.  It is physically impossible for them to feel that way because of all the things they are sheltered from.  It makes Jonas upset because he loves his family and there is no way for them to return it or for him to show them how much he loves them.  The only one who understands him is The Giver.  Because of all this they decide that they should do something.  It is risky and the possibility stands that if they fail the consequences would be dire.  But, if it works everything would be better. 

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