Newbery Medal (1994).
This book has been stuck in my head for several years as it was the first piece of literature I ever read, and has since engendered a love of reading. The book centers around a young boy named Jonas who lives in a futuristic society that is completely devoid of pain, suffering, war, and fear, and as such is also lacking in love, passion, and joy. Jonas is assigned to be a Receiver of Memory from a wise old man known only as the Giver. It falls on the Giver and Jonas to be the only people in the community to remember and feel the pain, war, love, and friendship of the past, which makes their position in their own society unbearable. This book inspires in its readers the truth of needing the good and the bad in our society and culture in order to live fully. The Giver reminds us that even the pain of the past is needed in order to appreciate the joy of the now and the possibilities of the future.