A Book Review: Gathering Blue

Gathering Blue, the Book 2 of The Giver Quartet written by Lois Lowry, illustrates the life of a young, orphaned girl with a disability, living in an unsophisticated community rebuilt after the ruins. Even though the community had no advanced technology and the people were living a simple life, they are held together by rules under the leadership of the Council of the Guardians. The book took the 9th and 10th spot on Children's Chapter Book Best Sellers list on October 8, 2000, and October 29, 2000, respectively. In 2001, it was chosen as the winner of Selected Audiobooks for Young Adults by the American Library Association.

The novel puts a spotlight on Kira, an orphaned girl whose mother died from a strange illness and whose father died from an attack by a beast. She knew for sure that a group of women, her neighbors, would want her to be thrown out of the community because of her bad leg. Vandara, her neighbor, brought her to the Council of Guardians to have her removed from their community for she would be a burden, and the mothers would like to get her space where she lived. Kira lost her space, but, because of adroitness at threading, she was absorbed by the Council of Guardians to be a Robe-threader, the designer of the future.

Every year, all citizens gathered at the Council Edifice to commemorate their history. The Song, the Robe, and the Cane were the three most important things in the Gathering. The robe and the cane had intricate designs and patterns that showed the rise and fall of their community: "Ruin. Rebuilding. Ruin again. Regrowth." The robe was under Kira's care. She possessed the knowledge on how to restore and repair it; thanks to her late mother who was the previous threader. The cane was made by Thomas the Carver, and the song was sung by the Singer, together with the young girl named Jo who would replace the Singer in the future.

Although she was living a comfortable life with a cozy place to stay and delicious food to eat, Kira wanted to be free and create her own patterns. She didn't want to be a Robe-threader anymore under the scrutiny of Jamison, a member of the Council of Guardians who defended her at her trial against Vandara. Her chance to leave came when her friend Matt, an eight or nine-year-old boy who lived in the filthy Fen, brought to her room a blind man who told her about a village of healing. In this village, people with disabilities like her life without prejudice, get married and have kids, and feel loved and accepted. The man also told her a secret involving Jamison that could sway her to leave. He asked Kira to go to the village with him. After careful thought considering the community and her talent, Kira chose what was best for her.


It was a pleasure to read Gathering Blue. For one thing, the world was so different from that of in The Giver. Lowry continues to amaze me at her ability to create a well-realized fictional world that helped me imagine the culture and traditions of a crude community; and, the characteristics of the men, women, and their tykes. It's fascinating that you can tell the age of characters based on the number of syllables their respective names have: young children have one-syllable names; early teens, two-syllables; adults, three-syllables; and senior citizens, four-syllables.

I could also feel the eagerness and hardship Kira went through as she underwent the process of restoring and repairing the robe.

Additionally, Kira's story coincided with Jonas' and I was thrilled to read the part where the presence of Jonas in the community was alluded to. There isn't much information about what happened to him but the information was just enough to make me more eager to read the third book, Messenger.

Lastly, the book makes me reflect on the impact of our choices that we make in life just to get what we want and the sacrifices we can make for the greater good.

Discussion Questions

1. Describe the three young artists in the story.

2. How did the lives of the three talented children change?

3. Which of the characters did you identify with and why do you think you connected to them?

4. How is the community different from the one told in The Giver?

5. In what ways did the story make you reflect on your own life?

Further Information

Title: Gathering Blue

Author: Lois Lowry

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 25, 2000)

Publication Date: September 25, 2000

Print length: 225 pages