second edition cover
|Series||The Giver Series|
|Genre||Children's, Dystopian novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Dewey Decimal||[Fic] 21|
|LC Classification||PZ7.L9673 Gat 2000|
|Preceded by||The Giver (1993)|
|Followed by||Messenger (2004)|
Gathering Blue is a 2000 children's, social science fiction, dystopian novel by children's author Lois Lowry. The book is a companion novel to The Giver (1993) and Son (2012), and is followed by Messenger (2004) in The Giver Series. It is set in the same future time period, and it treats some of the same themes.
The central character, Kira, who has a twisted leg, is orphaned and must learn to survive in a society that normally leaves the weak or disabled exposed to die in the fields. In Gathering Blue, Kira needs a reason for the Council of Edifice to keep her in the village and not take her to the Field (which is certain death at the hands of The Beasts). Kira has a gift for embroidery, and the Council keeps her around to mend and update a beautiful robe that shows the history of their society. In the course of the book, she begins to learn the art of dyeing thread different colors, except for blue, which nobody in her community knows how to make. She also learns more about the truth of her village and the terrible secrets they hold.
Kira is a girl with a twisted leg who lives in a more primitive society where people who cannot work, die. She has been kept alive by her mother, and, when her mother dies, is brought before the Council of Guardians. Kira's life is spared when she proves she can weave very well, and she is assigned to the task of fixing up the robe worn by the Singer whose only job is the presentation of the Song, the story of human civilization, once a year. She meets Thomas, the boy whose duty is to carve the Singer's staff; and, when finding out she needs to dye her own thread, begins making a trip to the hut of Annabella, an old woman who teaches Kira dyeing. Annabella shows her the plants needed to make every color, except for blue.
Kira slowly learns that her life is less than idyllic. She hears crying in her building, and she and Thomas discover another orphan girl, Jo, whose ability is to sing and will eventually replace the current Singer. Jo is scolded and punished if she does not sing; Kira befriends her but realize that she, Thomas, and Jo do not have as much freedom as thought. At the Ceremony, she sees the Singer (whose robe she is fixing). She realizes that his feet are chained, and he is essentially a prisoner. The implication is that she and the others with Gifts are also prisoners.
Kira is also friends with a boy named Matt. Matt tells Kira of a village he once came across while lost in the woods. This village had blue. When the day that the Singer sings the Song comes, Matt is nowhere to be found. He eventually returns with a blind man from the village in a blue shirt. The man, it turns out, is the father whom Kira thought was dead: Christopher. He now lives in a community made up of injured and disabled people who help one another. He has enemies on the Council and is forced to return, while Kira decides to stay in the village to continue to mend the Singer's robe and help improve the society she lives in. Eventually, during the end of the book Matt tells Kira about a boy with blue eyes from the community Christopher is from. He says he has blue eyes and is not injured in any way, and that Matt thinks Kira should get married with him, but Kira declines. That boy is later revealed to be Jonas from The Giver, a book also by Lowry. The next book in the series expands on Jonas and Kira. 
Kira - a young girl with a twisted leg and gifted in weaving; She is the protagonist of the novel
Vandara - an evil enemy of Kira's; she requests that Kira be sent to the field to die
Annabella - an elderly woman who teaches Kira about dyes
Thomas - Kira's friend, a young man gifted in wood carvings
Jo - a little girl who can sing
Matt - a young boy who helps Kira, Thomas, and (later) Christopher - He reappears as the protagonist in Messenger (2004)
Jamison - an older man, Kira's sponsor and mentor from the Council of Guardians; later found to be the man who attempted to kill Christopher.
Christopher - Kira's father who Kira found out was alive but blind and was in hiding .
Katrina - Kira's Mother
Branch - Matt's dog
- GATHERING BLUE by Lois Lowry | Kirkus Book Reviews
- "Children's Chapter Book Best Sellers" The New York Times. October 8, 2000.
- "Children's Chapter Book Best Sellers" The New York Times. October 15, 2000.
- "Children's Chapter Book Best Sellers" The New York Times. October 29, 2000.
- "Children's Chapter Book Best Sellers" The New York Times. November 5, 2000.