Lois Lowry's Blog
Books from my childhood
Here is Humphrey, the book I remembered so fondly and which someone has very kindly just sent to me. (Incidentally, this has happened twice before, when in a speech I mentioned a beloved childhood book, and someone in the audience found a copy and sent it to me. One was "Dandelion Cottage" and the other...an entire set of books by Marguerite de Angeli, very beloved in my childhood...and to my good fortune, a library was disposing of their copies; and now they are mine!!)
This has made me recall, as well, two sets of books that I adored as a child; they were by a Swedish author, Maj Lindman. One series was about Swedish triplet boys named Snipp, Snapp, and Snurr; and the other—my favorite—was about triplet girls named Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka. I just googled those books to find their publication dates...late 1930's, and 40's.
Reading about them, very nostalgically, I discovered something that surprised me. In one of the books about Flicka, Ricka and Dicka, there is a cow named Blossom. When I was writing NUMBER THE STARS, which is set, of course, in Denmark, I named the family cow Blossom. I had no conscious recollection of having encountered a similarly-named Scandinavian cow when I was a child. But that cow must have been resting there in my brain cells, probably placidly chewing on a flower, for all those years.
Thinking about all of this, and remembering myself as a child—remembering my family in those long-ago years—I am again aware and appreciative of how fortunate I was to have been born into a family which valued books. My mother had been a kindergarten teacher before she married. She always read to us. There were always books in our home. We were always taken to the library.
And it was part of her heritage, too. Here is a picture of my mother in 1911, when she was five years old, being read to by her own mother.