I read this book in middle school and remember loving it, so I picked it up again to read to my kids. My 8 and 10 year old were riveted and often had outbursts of why the seemingly perfect society with no choices, love, happiness or color was so wrong even though it looked so right. I loved watching them internalize what was happening in the story and come to their own conclusions about why pain, discomfort, and sadness is necessary to a full existence.
I think the ideal read aloud age for this one is between 10 and 14, but my 8 year old also enjoyed it and anyone older would too. It is a quick read and such a great one for family discussion. There is a small part about “stirrings” that you may or may not feel comfortable reading aloud depending on the ages of your kids. Highly recommended as a “read aloud” so you can help them figure out and sort through the feelings the book incites in them.
Goodreads.com summary: Jonas’ world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.