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In beginning to write The Giver, I created a world that existed only in my imagination — the world of “only us, only now.” I tried to make Jonas’s world seem familiar, comfortable, and safe, and I tried to seduce the reader. I seduced myself along the way. It did feel good, that world. I got rid of all the things I fear and dislike [...] One child has pointed out, in a letter, that the people in Jonas’s world didn’t even have to do dishes.

It was very, very tempting to leave it at that.

But [...] if I’ve learned anything through that river of memories, it is that we can’t live in a walled world, in an “only us, only now” world where we are all the same and feel safe. We would have to sacrifice too much. The richness of color and diversity would disappear; feelings for other humans would no longer be necessary. Choices would be obsolete.

And besides, I had ridden my bike Elsewhere as a child, and liked it there, but had never been brave enough to tell anyone about it. So it was time.

author Lois Lowry, born today in 1937
Newbery Medal acceptance speech for The Giver, June 1994