Lois Lowry's Blog


See How They Run

Posted by Lois Lowry
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on Friday, 03 October 2008 in Uncategorized

This afternoon I'm going to see the movie "Man on Wire" with my friend writer Susan Goodman...whose book "See How They Run" is soon to be featured in People Magazine, obviously because of its timeliness (plus the fact that it's an excellent book) since it is about the American electoral process.  

That process was certainly on display last night during the VP debate, which I watched with Martin and two friends...all four of us a little aghast, I think, at the possibility of Sarah Palin potentially moving into a position of world power.  Okay, okay, Massachusetts is a very BLUE state; and Cambridge in particular has been derisively called the "Kremlin on the Charles."  But surely I must reflect the feeling of most people everywhere in this country that no, we DON'T want "someone like us" in the oval office.  We want someone BETTER than us: someone with superior intelligence and eloquence, someone statesmanlike and honorable, experienced and competent.

Because I have family in Europe, and visit there often, I am often privy to glimpses of how the USA is viewed abroad, and has been for several years now. How I yearn for our stature in the world to be reclaimed.  How certain I feel that Obama and Biden are the only ones who hold out the possibility of that happening.

Busy weekend this weekend, with an event to attend tonight, theater tickets tomorrow, concert tickets Sunday.  Cambridge life resumed.  Next weekend my son and a friend will spend the weekend at the Maine farm and he will put up the storm windows for me...I was there overnight this past week, in order to meet the electrician who needed to do some work...but I can't manage those heavy end-of-season tasks.  Thank goodness for strapping sons.

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O.Jimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

It's been a while since I read this excellent blog. I'm not surprised to read the supportive comments about THE GIVER. Not long ago when I wrote to Ms. Lowry to get her opinion on whether my 8 year old should read the book, she kindly wrote back to let me know that it was UP TO ME as a parent to decide, since I knew my daughter and she did not. I found this very useful advice. I try to read reviews of the books I give my daughter, and read the most "controversial" just to be sure that the subject matter is not beyond her level of understanding. At one point I read a book that had some strong language, but without this language the entire premise of the book would not have made sense, so I had to sit down and discuss this with her. As she usually does, she understood perfectly and rose to the challenge, knowing that just because it's on the page it is not license to use it herself, which is more than I hoped to hear from her. The point of this lengthy comment is to suggest that it is the responsibility of adults, parents, teachers, librarians, guardians, etc, to help children "navigate the waters, not to necessarily pilot the ship."
The negative comments about THE GIVER shows a lack of understanding of the role that literature, theater, art, plays in advancing the dialogue about the relationship of the individual towards society and towards other people. I feel that without writers and playwrights and artists, (musicians included) fomenting dialogue, life would certainly become a hopeless journey. Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn, through his writings, made the world aware of the Gulag, and for these efforts Solzhenitsyn was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, and returned a Hero in 1994!

Lois Lowry Monday, 29 November 1999

Thank you all for the comments you have made, which are thoughtful and intelligent. Several young people, though, posted comments asking questions abut the book. Those kinds of questions should be sent to me by email. You can do that by clicking "e-mail me" at the top of the website homepage, under my name.

Andrea Monday, 29 November 1999

Oh my gosh what nerve the person has got 2 ask you that question? I read the Giver in 6th grade 2 and im in 8th grade now.......i still love it...lovely ending....i love it...(i could say tha a million times :)) )

Stephan Peters Monday, 29 November 1999

This is interesting. In writing this reply I am so tempted to use terms like "Those people," "Them," or "They," but in doing so I would fall into the same self-serving mindset that causes this sort of thing to happen in the first place. In reality, no-one's child should be forced to read a book their parents disapprove of. By the same token, it is the parent's responsibility to find out why they disapprove of a work. Many parents trust people who make statements like those of Berit Kjos. This is unfortunate. I can't fault the parents in trying to raise their children right, and they live in a subculture that has learned to trust the wrong people. It is important to remember this.
The world shown in The Giver is certainly no worse than the world shown in The Last Battle by CS Lewis, and actually a better world than that shown in the book of Judges in the Bible.
So what to do?

Mandy Hardan Monday, 29 November 1999

I have just stumbled upon this blog, and it really disgusts me that people are putting down your book in this way!
I am a brand-new teacher, and when I student taught 8th grade English, I taught THE GIVER. I was amazed about the comments the kids had when we talked about the book in a whole-group setting--these kids picked up the themes and the IMPORTANCE of the themes right away. The kids were all very engaged in the book, and the chapter-by-chapter talks were really lively when we talked about the structure of this community and how following the rules blindly can be a bad thing. Furthermore, the kids now know why it's important to defend books that are banned.
I read the book about twenty times from the time I started planning the novel's unit until the last time I read the last page with the kids. Every single time I read the book, I learned something new. This is truly a great book--and many teachers teach this one at all grade levels. I have a friend that teaches it in sophomore English.
I wasn't aware that you had written two more books that went with THE GIVER, though a few of my students asked me about them. I bought both at the bookstore this week, and I'm excited to get to them, (and to call my mentor teacher to tell the kids that more books like THE GIVER exist).

Revathi Monday, 29 November 1999

My daughter read The Giver in 3rd grade and insisted that I read it, too. Now, I use this as a literature circle book with my 5th grade students every April or May, just before they go off to middle school. The book has made for wonderful classroom discussions on freedom, choice, and how pursuit of knowledge can prevent such a society from existing.
Ms. Lowry, here is a request. My students would like you to join them on our class blog as they discuss this book. Would that be possible?

Mary M. Monday, 29 November 1999

As a 7th and 8th grade literature teacher in a Christian school, I am deeply saddened by the commentary and urging to ban books by this man, Kjos.
My six amazing students have deemed this book the best of the year and are finishing it this weekend at home. It has enriched not only our classroom, but our lives for 50 minutes a day for the past month. The conversations that have come out of this, from a Christian perspective, have been amazing. I'm sad to have to finish this book with my students. Kudos to Ms. Lowry for writing a book that is allowing even my reluctant readers to have nearly unstoppable, deep, thoughtful, passionate conversation.

CEMORE HUEVOS Monday, 29 November 1999


Kandi Darnell Monday, 29 November 1999

I have shared The Giver with my students for several years now. The kids get completely engaged in not only reading the book, but reading itself. We have wonderful enlightening discussions in class; they ask very thought-provoking questions. The kids LOVE the book.

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