Reading & Literacy

It’s a Great Day: ‘The Giver’ Trailer Released

By Ross Brenneman — March 19, 2014 1 min read
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Students and educators might be especially excited about a movie trailer that dropped today: “The Giver.”

First published by Lois Lowry in 1993, The Giver has become an icon in children’s literature. A winner of the presitigous Newbery Medal, it has been on any number of essential reading lists.

The story, if you don’t know (for which you should feel shame), follows Jonas, a 12-year-old chosen to become his “utopian” community’s Receiver of Memories. In order to receive, of course, there must be someone to give, and the “Giver” shows Jonas what the world used to be like before it turned into the strange, uniform collective known as the “Community.”

The Giver plays on themes of autocracy and freedom, and may be many children’s introduction to the concept of tyranny. It’s meant for 4th graders but appeals to older students as well. (For anyone interested, teacher Sarah Goodis-Orenstein laid out suggestions for teaching The Giver in a CTQ Collaboratory piece on our site in January.)

The movie’s being presented in color, in strange contrast to the black-and-white world of the book, but hey—Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep. That’s something!

The film is being produced by the Weinstein Company and Walden Media. The latter is the studio that is partly behind both “Waiting for ‘Superman’” and “Won’t Back Down,” movies that each drew ire for their support of charter schools. Looking at “The Giver” through the lens of traditional public school vs. charter school might be a little too cynical, although there is that line where the villainous Meryl Streep says, “When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong.”

Although, who knows, maybe the movie could also be used as a metaphor against the uniformity of the Common Core State Standards. Like much of pop culture, people may see what they want to see.

“The Giver” will be released in theaters on August 15.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.