Lois Lowry's Blog


Excuse me, big WHAT?!

Posted by Lois Lowry
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on Sunday, 20 September 2009 in Uncategorized

Here I am in Rexburg, Idaho...gorgeous sunny weather, and a terrific conference on Children's Literature sponsored by Brigham Young University Idaho.  Such conferences are always a chance to meet interesting people, and there are certainly lots of them here, all very hospitable.

So...what dumb thing did I do this time?  Well, I was speaking to an audience of 250 people, and using a Power Point---people do seem to enjoy have having something to look at, I think. And the chapel in which I was speaking had a wonderful built-in tech system which made everything so easy.

But when I was showing pictures of some of the photographs I'd done for book jackets...Number the Stars, for example...I explained that I had studied photography in graduate school, and for many years had done a lot of portraits. "Photographing children was always a big love of mine," I said.  Then I gulped.  "Ooops," I said. "I can't believe I just used that phrase---big love---in front of this audience.""

Fortunately all 250 Mormons burst out laughing.

Big love copy

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Jana Monday, 29 November 1999

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of The Birthday Ball...such a fun story!! I love your writing. I am can't wait to get it for my library, I can already see it in the hands of many of my students!!

Arina Monday, 29 November 1999

I just finished reading "The Giver". I don't understand, why not seeing colors would make members of the community more in union and same. My mother and I had a talk about it, and we had some hypothesis. I thought it was because having color will give more room for choice which could make people think more on their own. Another idea was that they forgot the word and no longer understand its meaning. I also don't understand how their eyes just don't see color. I was so excited to find I could ask you yourself. Thank you.

Lois Lowry Monday, 29 November 1999

Think of their lack of color as a symbol of all they have lost. By not being able to feel deep feelings, their world has become very drab and gray. Completely colorless.

ojimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

"in the meantime, in this country, I now have four books off my desk and in the hands of publishers,"
mmm...any chance an average joe could stumble upon some ARCs of these gems?

ojimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

I was perusing "The Book That Changed My Life" edited by Diane Osen, and posed myself the question: is there a book that changed my life?
Almost immediately, my mind went into that netherland where all the books I've ever read wait to be pulled carefully by the spine for a quote or thought, while my face, I'm sure, assumed a comatose look.
What a question! Is there a book that changed my life? I pondered wrinkling my brow as if trying to come up with a formula akin to E=mc2.
Suddenly, pow! there it was. The book that changed my life with its faded yellowing spine snuggly crammed between "Reading like a Writer," and "The Interpreter of Maladies."
What a relief. I didn't have to search the depths of my mind, nor weigh the influences, moral and otherwise, from every book I've ever read.
The book that changed my life sat on my shelf, next to my favorite chair. It's title sparked memories. I recalled the time I checked it out from the "bookmobile" in the early seventies, when these marvelous movable wonders gave kids like me a reason to look forward to Thursday afternoons, that was not TV.
I plagiarized the book, made its language my own. Its language made me popular with the girls, and with teachers, and eventually with employers!
Most importantly, from its example I learned to adore vessels like it, and cherish their offerings.
When I first read the book that changed my life I understood about half of it. Nevertheless, something inside me knew I was touching stuff of life, stuff sweet and bitter, like honey that never spoils.
The stuff inside never spoiled with time.
I've read it over and over for years. I still read it avidly, and it still continues to offer the most amazing experiences.
The words! words that mesmerized me and puzzled me as child, still remain pregnant with magic!
This magic became more obvious when, after years of neglecting them, I began to notice the little bylines at the foot of each page: John Keats, William Wordsworth, Robert Frost, Emperor Ch'ien Wen-ti, Vachel Lindsey, William Butler Yeats, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Shakespeare.. to name a few.
So, the book that changed my life:
"THE CRYSTAL CABINET An Invitation to Poetry" Horace Gregory and Marya Zaturenska, wood engravings by Diana Bloomfield. 1962.
(P.S. years after the bookmobile program was discontinued I bought a new copy of the book and gave it to the library)

Lois Lowry Monday, 29 November 1999

re ARCS: I know the publisher distributed ARCs of THE BIRTHDAY BALL at the ALA convention---so a lot of librarians went home with them. But it will be published very soon (early April). The other books: too soon for ARCS.

Faith Wise Monday, 29 November 1999

A random connection to the reader who wondered about the lack of color in the world of The Giver. I live in an Amish community (though I am not Amish). The reason Amish wear "plain clothes" and limited colors represents unity and equality. No Amish person is better than another.

nicola Monday, 29 November 1999


Rebecca Herman Monday, 29 November 1999

When will your Dear America book be published, I assume next year? I LOVED that series growing up and am so excited to see it return.

Lois Lowry Monday, 29 November 1999

January 2011. Title: LIKE THE WILLOW TREE

Rebecca Herman Monday, 29 November 1999

thanks! can't wait to read it.

Noel Diggins Monday, 29 November 1999

Number the stars is SPECTACULAR!I love that book!

Anna-Maria Galante Monday, 29 November 1999

Oh my goodness, I just finished reading The Giver. I have a 13-year-old and 11-year-old twins. I still read to them at bedtime. I started reading The Giver to one of the twins last night. I couldn't put it down, so I finished it this morning. What a book! They will definitely get the rest, if I can read without blubbering. I was so glad to see here on your blog that it has been translated into Italian. I sent a copy to my cousin in Vercelli immediately.

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