My Butterfly project sits half-done because I simply cannot wait to tell you more about this book!
Have any of you read Lois Lowry’s The Giver?
Gathering Blue is it’s companion volume. The Giver took place in this high-tech, distant future world which was absent of emotion. Gathering Blue is set in a village which has very basic technology and the emotions run high in this story. I found at times the characters to be down right cruel.
Description from Amazon: Lois Lowry won the first of her two Newbery Medals in 1990 for Number the Stars. Six years later she ushered readers back into the mysterious but plausible future world of The Giver to tell the story of Kira, orphaned, physically flawed, and left with an uncertain future. This second book in the Giver Quartet has been stunningly redesigned in both paperback and hardcover. As she did in The Giver and later The Messenger, in Gathering Blue Lois Lowry challenges readers to imagine what our world could become, how people could evolve, and what could be considered valuable.
This book tests us by asking the difficult questions: What if all of our modern technology is taken away? What if we went back to living like pioneers where the struggle for food and shelter took the top priority? Of course only the fittest could survive so why not dispose of those who couldn’t contribute fully to the community , such as the sick, handicapped, and old?
It’s into this setting that Kira was born. Although she was born lame, her mother couldn’t bear to part with her at birth. When we meet Kira she is newly orphaned. The villagers look at her as a burden and want her sent to the fields. Like her mother, Kira is very talented at embroidery and is taken to the Grand Council Edifice, where she is to repair and restore the singing robe in time for the annual Ruin Song Gathering.
This gathering is a stoic day-long performance of the history of the people and their world’s past. Also living just down the hall in the Council Edifice is Thomas, a young carver who works on intricate carvings on the singer’s staff. Also living in the Council Edifice is a very little girl who is being trained as the next singer. Directing the three children is a seemingly kind counsellor but truly he is menacing and his dark secrets unfold throughout the story.
The singing robe is intricately designed and colored but there is the absence of the color blue. A little village waif named Matt along with his scruffy dog, take a long journey to find the wood plant which will let Kira dye blue thread.
I was attracted to this book because of the value they placed on art and its creative process. Through their artistic processes they share the memory of their people, families, and culture. There is a surprise ending, which of course I won’t share but it left me with such a feeling of hope that I decided to embroider this butterfly in many shades of blue. What greater symbol for hope and transformation is there than the butterfly.
One Quick Side Note:
Earlier this year I got to meet one of my favorite authors…who just so happened to be Lois Lowry! I was able to meet her, have a chat, and have this picture taken while at Book Expo America. To read more of my BEA “adventures” check out this past post called “For The Love of Reading, Where Have Ya Been??!”
Something To Do: Embroidery Project
You can choose to embroider whatever you wish. I like to use the Peterson Guide Coloring books, but you could use anything including an original design of your very own.
Here’s a great tutorial from Crafty Bird on how to transfer a patterns onto your cloth.
For those of you wishing to know how to make embroidery stitches you can have a look here.