Gathering Blue is a 2000 novel by noted children's author Lois Lowry. This book is a companion novel to the The Giver (1993), and is followed by Messenger (2004) in The Giver trilogy. It is set in the same future time period, but possibly takes place in the year 2067, about two years after the events of "The Giver", and it treats some of the same themes. The central character, Kira, who has a twisted leg, is orphaned and must learn to survive in a society which normally leaves the weak or disabled exposed to die.
Kira, a teenage girl with a leg deformed from birth, has just bid farewell to her dead mother. Fierce beasts had dragged off her father before Kira was born. Her society scorns the infirm, usually casting them aside and leaving them to die. Unsure of her future, Kira returns to her home and finds her neighbors attempting to take control of her land. After a potentially fatal confrontation with Kira's neighbors, led by an aggressive woman named Vandara, it is agreed that the fate of Kira's home will be decided by the Council of Guardians, the leaders of the village who reside in an impressive building known as the Edifice.
The Edifice is a remnant of an ancient society and is the only conventionally modern building in the village. The council hears Vandara's case against Kira, and a Guardian named Jamison is appointed to represent Kira. Jamison is familiar with Kira's family and is aware she possesses an extraordinary skill in needlecraft. The council decides that Vandara may take Kira's land but that Kira's life will be spared. She will reside in the Edifice and assume the role her mother filled before her death as the repairer of the Singer's robe.
At first, Kira is relieved and grateful. She is comfortably housed, well-fed, clean and safe. She is doing work she loves. She has friends as well: Matt, a scruffy boy from the Fen, a poverty-stricken area, who visits with his dog, Branch, and Thomas, a boy Kira's age who also lives under the care of the Guardians. Thomas as an exquisite carver, and he is assigned to work on the Singer's staff. Kira's one desire is to find woad, the plant that will allow her to make blue thread, the one color lacking in the spectrum available to her.
She finds a man who is later to be discovered as Christopher, her father who was blinded by his enemy Jamison. Kira is shocked and reveals to Thomas that the Singer is a prisoner, held back by shackles under his robe.
Kira considers the fate of the Singer and her own role as the tender of the robe. She selflessly decides that she will stay in her village and work toward creating a better future for her people by working within the system. Even though that meant making herself a prisoner.