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She's Baaaacckk!

Posted by Lois Lowry
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on Thursday, 11 December 2014 in Uncategorized




I've just received copies of the first two in the being-newly-republished Anastasia Krupnik series. These two have introductions by me (I don't thnk the rest will) and it was a lot of fun to re-read them, re-think them, try to recall the mindset when I wrote them  back in the 80's. (Actually, the first one was n the late 70s!)  Suddenly I remebered the answer to the qustion How did you get the idea for..."  Most often that is unanswerable, but Anastasia did in fact, have a real-life origin, a real-life person on whom she was based. It was fun, recalling that and writing a bit about it for the intro.

And the DVD of THE GIVER movie is out now, with extra bonus material that I loved watching (no, not the interview with myself; I didn't even bother watching that!)  What I especially enjoyed was seeing the scenes they couldn't include (time restrictions, boo hoo) of the boy and the baby out in that vast and glorious landscape.

New England weather has wrecked a number of plans lately...a meeting canceled when the other person simply could not get here from New York, as planes were delayed and canceled in wnidy, icy rain this past Tuesday. If that storm had been SNOW we would be buried now.

'Tis the season to be jolly. I have actually gotten all of my Christmas packages into the mail, and a lot of Chrismas cards as well, and last night delivered a birthday gift to the one grandchild who has a December birthday...(his fourteenth. It seems like yesterday that he was born. When his dad when to pick up mom and baby from the hospital that December, his car slid into a snowbank. I was babysitting with the two year old, and I recall my son coming back into the house, and I said, "That was a quick trip!" ...then realizing he looked a little stricken and was dialing AAA)

Happy Holidays to everyone! When I was a child, books were always an important part of our Christmas gifts.  I hope that is still true for most people.








 

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Miriam
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Miriam Thursday, 11 December 2014

I loved, loved, loved the Anastasia books so much! Perhaps this is something you mention in the new introductions, but if not (since it seems like there won't be any more new Anastasia books, alas) I'm curious what you imagine Anastasia would be up to these days/as an adult.

Lois Lowry
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Lois Lowry Thursday, 18 December 2014

I think I might have described that in one of the introductions. My guess..she would be a tecacher. Married, probably. Politically active. Busy, happy.

Andrew Dixon
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Andrew Dixon Saturday, 27 December 2014

I had not heard of you until recently with the release of the movie (and I need to say that I haven't seen it yet). But I have read the book and loved it so much that I searched out the other 3 books that accompany The Giver. I loved them! The intricacy of plot and the way that the stories in all 4 books was woven together was amazing. I should also say that I am 50 years old and am Head of Curriculum at a primary school in Queensland Australia so I read a large number of books. These were inspiring. Thank you so much.

Lois Lowry
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Lois Lowry Saturday, 27 December 2014

Thank you, Andrew Dixon! Lovely to hear from Australia. I did a book tour there a long time ago...1985, I think! Long before The Giver was published. But the Anastasia books...soon to be republished in the states...were very popular there at that time. Everyone was so warm and hospitable to me.

Steven Van Der Werf
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Steven Van Der Werf Sunday, 28 December 2014

After hearing Jeff Bridges in an interview where he talked about "The Giver" I decided to give the book a read. I like to read books that explore philosophical issues though fiction and I thought it would be a good fit. I didn't expect to encounter a chapter that would impact me on such a profoundly emotional level.

When my wife was 7 months pregnant my daughter was diagnosed as having Truncus Arteriosis. This is a malformation of the heart where the pulmonary artery and the aorta do not split during the heart's development. We were told she would need surgery within days after being born before the extra artery going to the heart that is used in utero closes.

Amanda was born small (5lbs. 1oz.) and screaming her head off. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. On day 5 of her life she went into surgery and thanks to the amazing talents of Dr. Spray and the other medical professionals at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia everything was a success.

We watched her recovery in the CICU for 25 days. Two days after her surgery we were told that she had her lung collapse and that she gave them a bit of a scare. We sat by her bedside as she was hooked up to 14 separate medications and had 4 separate tubes coming out of her little body. We would rub her feet (the only part that would not disturb the tubes and wires) when she silently shook with pain unable to cry because of the breathing tube she had blocking her larynx.

Eventually Amanda was discharged. She continues to do amazing, and her prognosis for the future is for a happy and healthy life with two more surgeries to change the donor conduit to a larger size as she grows. Amanda and my wife are the loves of my life, and I treasure each moment I get to have with them.

The reason for all of the back story is it is the only way I could explain why the scene with the Release of the identical twin connected with me on such a personal level. The decision to discard the baby because of its size. The description of the baby twitching and falling silent. The ghoulish coldness of the father as he swaddled the child and waved goodbye as he put the baby down the garbage shoot. Through the whole scene all I could think about is how Amanda was too small. Amanda did not fit their perfect health criteria. Amanda would have been "Released" in this society of orderly sociopaths. Reading the passage was like taking a baseball bat to the soul, and it left me sitting on the edge of my bed crying.

The book was great. I loved the ambiguous ending. I really enjoyed the ideas it explored regarding how much of ourselves are we willing to sacrifice for safety and at what point does this sacrifice mean giving up the very flavor of life. How much we are willing as an individual to have the courage to have our own thoughts and make our own decisions rather than just blindly following whatever dogma to which we've latched ourselves in order to avoid shouldering any responsibility for our actions. These are all well expressed in the book and I applaud it.

But "The Giver" gave me more than just a discussion to have over some coffee. This book touched me at an emotional level I have never felt from any other piece of literature. It is for this that I want to thank you.

Steve

Lois Lowry
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Lois Lowry Sunday, 28 December 2014

Steve, Thank you for your post. I think it is what a writer most hopes for, that a book will touch individuals in individual ways that emerge from their personal circumstances. I think it is why we read fiction, most of us...to enjoy a good story, of course, but also to identify with it in deep and profoundly personal ways. I send my very best wishes to you and your wife and to that feisty little daughter who had to fight her way through a rough start and did so with such grace and spirit.
Lois Lowry

Stephanie Robinson
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Stephanie Robinson Wednesday, 31 December 2014

I love the new Anastasia covers! They are really beautifully done and are sure to draw in new readers. I know the students in my library will gravitate towards them :) I also like that the first two have a note from you included for the reader! Awesome!

dwyane hudson
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dwyane hudson Monday, 31 July 2017

Anastasia Krupnik is the first book of a popular series of middle-grade novels by Lois Lowry, depicting the title character's life as a girl just trying to grow up. I hope this is a wonderful opportunity to know more about this book. Woodpeckers wooden rings

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