Lois Lowry's Blog


pill-poppng and suicide

Posted by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
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on Wednesday, 07 November 2007 in Uncategorized

An attention-grabbing title, right? It filled that role in the first paragraph iof the San Jose newspaper article abuot the ongoing attempt to ban THE GIVER there. It always troubles me when, in a book challenge situation, things are taken out of context, when for example I am portrayed as endorsing suicide or euthansia. Of course if one reads the book it is clear that I do not. But in the throes of hysteria, some book-banners don't get around to doing the obvious: i.e. reading the book. ("The author what? Promotes teen suicide? Of course I'll sign your petition!")

I did a live interview yesterday on a San Francisco radio station and wrote a letter to the San Jose paper, addressing the issue. But as always, I am—most of all—grateful to the librarians and teachers who again and again stand up against censorship. It is sometimes a lonely and scary battle.

My friend and neighbor, author Kathryn Lasky, is currently working on a book set during the book-burning in Germany under Hitler. She has actually hired my 14-year-old German granddaughter as a consultant—not on the history; Kathy is a top-notch researcher—but on the German language: what term of endearment, for example, would a mom use toward her daughter? I remember when Nadine, my granddaughter, was younger and we often called her "Bean"...her mom used to call her "Beanchen" (in the same way that "Gretchen" was originally a fond dimunitive of "Margret") And now that very same Beanchen is being a literary consultant (and, Kathy tells me, quite a good one).

I helped Kathy out another time, using my family...and here it is:


Kathy had written this book for Scholastic's "Dear America" series, and when she saw the proposed cover, she didn't like the photograph they had used to depict the young protaganist. So I gave her this photo of my mom at age 13, and it's perfect. Sadly, my mother had died by then so she never got to know that she had become a covergirl.

My upcoming book, THE WILLOUGHBYS, has undergone some cover changes as well. The Houghton Mifflin catalogue shows it with one jacket which has now been replaced by another because it was felt that the first one had attracted and implied a too-young audience. Here's the new one:


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Elizabeth Berendzen Monday, 29 November 1999

Ms. Lowry,
I loved the book Gossamer. I hope it will make a very good play. Keep us posted.
Elizabeth Berendzen, Age 13

Christine Eldin Monday, 29 November 1999

I wasn't able to comment on your previous post, but I found your discussion about character description fascinating. And I had to scratch my head because I honestly didn't remember that the mc in The Giver wasn't described. I guess I had him firmly developed in my head.
The transition from book to movie must be so exciting! Are you having to write more dialogue? Or are they basically editing and shuffling scenes around? Fellow blogger Pat Wood's book "Lottery" is also going to be made into a movie.
This behind-the-scenes look at process is a wonderful gift you're giving us.

Kate Monday, 29 November 1999

I've always thought Ordinary People was better on screen. It's one of my favorite movies.

Amy Monday, 29 November 1999

I loved The Kite Runner both on the page and on the screen, same with Feast of Love. (Curiously, I found Kite Runner more graphic as a book than a movie.) The Cider House Rules was great both ways, but was two entirely different stories (to me). I am usually hesitant to see a movie of a book that I've loved because it usually doesn't live up to the book (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - my imagination is just so much better, and different every time), but I am excited for The Giver! There's so much that is so conceptual in the book that they should be able to do quite well (like the transfer of memories to Jonas). I'm looking forward to it :) (Ps just moved to Cambridge, narrowly missing your appearance at Porter Sq Books, look forward to catching you in the future!)

Annie Monday, 29 November 1999

I have yet to see a stage version of "To Kill a Mockingbird," but both the book and movie versions get me every time. Also, I saw "The Cider House Rules" when it first came to theaters and loved it; when I picked up the book, I could barely make it past the first few chapters. (I just can't get into John Irving's books.)
I haven't read "Children of Men" but found the film extremely moving. "The Hours" was amazing in both film and book form.

Oswaldo Jimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

This is a very interesting topic.
When I asked my daughter about what she thought
of the Harry Potter movies compared to the books
she quiclky answered "the details" she thought
movies leave many details out.
My preference as a reader is to dive into a book on
my terms and follow the author's lead. I love movies
and Clearly it makes a huge difference if the author
of the book works on the movie script, which is not
always the case.
(Shakespeare, I think, is better experienced
as a play than read)
Time Magazine has an article about this very
subject which I found useful:

Betty Monday, 29 November 1999

I think The English Patient was a much better film than it was a book. It really clarified issues in the book. But movies that were an improvement on (or at least equal to) the original book are few and far between. Best of luck!

PERRY G BUOTE Monday, 29 November 1999

Have you thought of JB Broasso from canada you can see sme of his work from the beach combers to king ralph. I beleive he would make a great Giver.

O. Jimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

I found this great passage while reading "A Man Witout A Country" by the late Kurt Vonnegut:
"The imagination circuit is taught to respond to the most minimal of cues. A book is an arrangement of twenty-six phonetic symbols, ten numerals, and about eight punctuation marks, and people can cast their eyes over these and envision the eruption of Mount Vesuvius or the Battle of Waterloo. But it's no longer necessary for teachers and parents to build these circuits. Now there are professionally produced shows with great actors, very convincing sets, sound, music. Now there's the information highway. We don't need the circuits any more than we need to know how to ride horses. Those of us who had imagination circuits built can look in someone's face and see stories there; to everone else, a face will just be a face."

Anne Monday, 29 November 1999

I don't know how John Irving responded to the Cider House Rules film, but I understand that he had no affection for Simon Birch, an adaptation from A Prayer for Owen Meany. I'd be interested to know if he was involved in either of the productions.

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