BOSTON — Houghton Mifflin Harcourt today announced that it will publish an illustrated gift edition of one of its bestselling and most oft-challenged Newbury-winning titles, Lois Lowry's The Giver, on October 25—just in time for the American Library Association's (ALA) Banned Books Week, which runs through Saturday, Oct. 1.
Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment, highlighting the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books like The Giver across the United States. Published in 1993, The Giver has become a fixture of contemporary literature. The book elicits responses from readers throughout the world, and while many champion Lowry’s story of a seemingly ideal world built upon a dark and brutal secret, it is also number 11 on the ALA's list of 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books from 1990-1999. Lowry’s series of books about Anastasia Krupnik was number 28 on the list during the same decade.
The Giver Illustrated Gift Edition reinvents Lowry's literary touchstone with evocative illustrations by acclaimed artist Bagram Ibatoulline, a new introduction by Lowry, and Lowry’s inspiring Newbery Medal acceptance speech. The story centers on 12-year-old Jonas, who lives in an environment that appears to be utopian. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memories does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind his fragile community, forcing him to consider the possibility of a flawed yet vibrant life outside of his safe but sterile world. The New York Times called The Giver “a powerful and provocative novel,” and there are more than 11 million copies in print worldwide, in 21 languages.
Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges recently optioned films rights for The Giver, with Vadim Perelman (The House of Sand and Fog) attached as screenwriter and Nikki Silver as producer. Bridges is slated to play the titular role, one he had originally envisioned for his father, the late Lloyd Bridges.
The Giver has been used in numerous “One Community, One Book” programs; The Oregon Children’s Theatre premiered a stage adaptation in March 2006; an opera of The Giver will open with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in January 2012.
The Giver is the first in a series of books that includes Gathering Blue and The Messenger. Lowry is currently working on a companion fourth novel.
About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Trade & Reference Division
With nearly two-centuries of award-winning history, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Trade and Reference Division continues to publish some of the most renowned novels, non-fiction, children’s books and reference works in hardcover, Mariner Books trade paperbacks and ebooks. Its distinguished author list includes eight Nobel Prize winners, 47 Pulitzer Prize winners, 13 National Book Award winners, and more than 100 Caldecott, Newbery, Printz, and Silbert Medal and Honor recipients. HMH publishes such distinguished authors as Philip Roth, Temple Grandin, Tim O'Brien, and Umberto Eco, as well as The Best American series®, The American Heritage® family of dictionaries, The Gourmet Cookbook and other culinary classics, the Peterson Field Guides and books by J.R.R. Tolkien. Along with a celebrated lineup of children’s authors, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group is the publisher of some of the best-loved children's books and book characters including Curious George, The Little Prince and The Polar Express. For more information, visit www.hmhbooks.com.