"The Giver" Underscores The Value of Every Human Life


the_giver_payoff_poster_finalMy son Eric, now a newly minted college graduate working his first professional job, was a toddler in 1993 when a fantastic book entitled The Giver garnered the Newbery Medal for author Lois Lowry. A decade later, when Eric — a voracious reader — discovered the book for himself, it held him enthralled. I remember picking the book up for myself and being equally captivated.

So when I heard that the creative team at Walden Media was partnering with The Weinstein Company to bring this classic story to life, I couldn’t wait to see the movie. As my endorsement for the film shows, it was all I had hoped it would be:

“The Giver is a stunning film which underscores that every human life has beauty and value. Fast paced yet thoughtfully provocative, this is a story which reminds us that in our diversity and humanity and even in our frailty and brokenness, we are the colors of the beautiful masterpiece of life. When we forget to care for the most fragile among us, we lose the essence of our humanity. See The Giver and then look for your own chance to give to the world around you.”

To give you a sense of the film’s vast potential, I want to share a terrific review by my friend and fellow writer Sr. Rose Pacatte, who gives The Giver movie high marks:

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Micheal Flaherty, President of Walden Media, about his hopes for this film. Our broad-ranging conversation heightened my anticipation for this project. In my mind, this is more than just a popcorn movie. While aimed at more mature children due to some of the sensitive themes covered, The Giver has the power to embolden our youth in an age when their contributions to our society are so greatly needed.

After sharing with me about some of the educational partnerships and learning resources that have already been developed in partnership with classroom teachers, Flaherty — himself a dad — told me that he sincerely hopes families will not only see the film together, but take a step beyond to truly have a deep conversation about the “big ideas” in this film.

Micheal shared, “As my kids get older, it’s really hard to explain to them this idea of being in the world, but not of the world.” He believes that the themes in this movie, such as its emphasis on personal courage even in the face of vast societal pressure, can bolster the values of a generation who is sent out into a world that often contradicts the values they are taught at home.

Honestly, I would concur with Micheal that the true value of The Giver is not simply a few hours of entertainment. Don’t get me wrong — you’ll be entertained by this fast-paced, superbly acted movie.

But I hope you will — as I did — see this simply as a starting point to have conversations with your family that will embolden your children to stand for what is right and true and just.

I believe that each of us, including our children, have the potential created within us to be “Giver” to the world around us. And I thank Lois Lowry, Walden Media and The Weinstein Company for creating a vehicle that will remind us of what is lost when we forget the dignity and value of every human life.

For more on The Giver, including educational resources and a full section on Lois Lowry, visit the Walden Media website. 


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.


  1. This book is part of my homeschool curriculum. My children read it in 8th grade. The conversations that flow from their reading of it have taught us all so much. Can’t wait to see and support the movie.

    • Kelly, prepare yourself and the kids for one very emotionally challenging moment in the book, when a baby is “released”. I think with some forewarning and discussion after the fact, it will be a great experience for all of you.

  2. Lisa-thanks for that warning for your first reply. I have read this book and was really changed by it. I’m hoping my boys will read the book soon. (They can’t see the movie until they read the book….unwritten policy in our home!) Thanks for the review.

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