Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry

Infobox Writer

imagesize = 150px
name = Lois Lowry
caption =
birthname = Lois Ann Hammersburg
birthdate = birth date and age|1937|3|20
birthplace = Oahu,cite web| url =http://www.loislowry.com/bio_hawaii.html| title = Lois Lowry Biography| publisher =Lois Lowry| accessdate =2007-05-27] Hawaii, United States
deathdate =
deathplace =
occupation = Writer
genre = Children's literature
movement =
notableworks = The Giver, Number the Stars
influences =
influenced =
website = http://www.loislowry.com/

Lois Lowry (born Lois Ann Hammersburg [ [http://library.thinkquest.org/J001564/timeline.html Biography ] ] on March 20, 1937) is an author of children's literature who has been awarded the Newbery Medal twice: first for "Number the Stars" in 1990, and again in 1994 for "The Giver", a widely known and controversial work.


Lois Lowry was born March 20, 1937, in Honolulu, Hawaii [ [http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Lowry_Lois.html Pennsylvania State University Center for the Book biography] ] to parents Robert and Katherine (Landis) Hammersberg. Initially, Lois' parents named her "Sena" for her Norwegian grandmother but upon hearing this, her grandmother telegraphed and instructed Lois' parents that the child should have an American name. [http://www.loislowry.com/pdf/Richmond_Speech.pdf] Her parents chose the names Lois and Ann, which were the names of her father's sisters.

Lowry was born the middle of three children. She had an older sister, Helen, and a younger brother Jon. Helen, three years older than Lois, died in 1962 at the age of 28. This experience informed Lowry's first book "A Summer to Die" which is about a young girl who tragically loses her older sister (which is also a subplot of "Number the Stars"). Lowry's brother Jon is six years younger than her and grew up to be a doctor. He and Lois continue to enjoy a close relationship. [http://www.loislowry.com/bio.html Lois Lowry - Biography ] ]

Lowry's father was a career military officer - an Army dentist - whose work moved the family all over the United States and to many parts of the world. Lowry and her family moved from Hawaii to Brooklyn, New York, in 1939 when Lowry was two years old and later relocated to her mother's hometown, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1942 when Lowry's father was deployed to the Pacific during World War II. Lowry's father served on a hospital ship called the USS Hope and on the island of Tinian during the war.

Following World War II, Lowry and her family moved to Tokyo, Japan, where her father was stationed from 1948-1950. Lowry went through junior high school at the Tokyo American School at Meguro, a special school for the children of military families, and then returned to the United States to attend high school. Lowry and her family briefly lived in Carlisle again in 1950 before moving to Fort Jay at Governors Island, New York, where Lois attended Curtis High School on Staten Island. In 1952, Lois entered Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights, New York, where she finished high school. Lowry entered Brown University in 1954. She attended for two years until her marriage at age 19 to Donald Lowry, a U.S. Navy officer, in 1956. Together they had four children: daughters Alix and Kristin, and sons Grey and Benjamin. [http://www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu/LitMap/bios/Lowry_Lois.html Lowry,Lois ] ]

The Lowrys moved quite frequently in their early years of marriage due to Donald's military career. They lived in California, Connecticut (where Alix was born), Florida (where Grey was born), South Carolina, and finally Cambridge, Massachusetts, (where Kristin and Benjamin were born) where they settled after Donald left the service to attend Harvard Law School. After Donald Lowry finished law school, the family moved to Portland, Maine.

As her children became older, Lowry found time to complete her degree in English literature from the University of Maine in Portland in 1972. After earning her B.A., she pursued graduate studies at her alma mater. It was during this coursework that she was introduced to photography, which became a life-long passion as well as a profession. Her specialty was child photography, but she also took pictures to accompany the articles she submitted as a freelance journalist. It was while working on a freelance journalism piece for "Redbook" magazine that Lowry got her first book opportunity, when the article she wrote caught the attention of an editor at Houghton Mifflin publishing. The story Lowry had written for the magazine was meant for adults but was written through the eyes of a child. The editor at Houghton Mifflin recognized an upcoming talent and suggested that Lowry write a children's book. She agreed and wrote "A Summer to Die" which was published in 1977. As Lowry nurtured her budding careers, she and Donald Lowry found they were no longer compatible; they divorced in 1977 when Lowry was 40 years old. Lowry said the following of these transitional years of her life: "My children grew up in Maine. So did I. I returned to college at the University of Southern Maine, got my degree, went to graduate school, and finally began to write professionally, the thing I had dreamed of doing since those childhood years when I had endlessly scribbled stories and poems in notebooks."

Writing about both funny things and serious issues has sustained Lois Lowry through her own hard times. Her son Grey was killed in the crash of his fighter plane in 1995. Lowry has acknowledged that this was the most difficult day of her life, but through her steady work as an author, she has persevered. Lowry said, "His death in the cockpit of a warplane tore away a piece of my world. But it left me, too, with a wish to honor him by joining the many others trying to find a way to end conflict on this very fragile earth."

Today, Lois Lowry remains active by not only continuing to write and speaking at appearances, but also enjoying time with her long-time companion Martin Small at her homes in Massachusetts and Maine. Lois takes pleasure in reading, knitting, gardening, and entertaining her four grandchildren.

Lowry has suggested that she is a Christian, but not so religious as "to have a favorite psalm." [http://www.downhomebooks.com/lowry.htm]

Literary works

In 1979, Lowry began her Anastasia series of books with "Anastasia Krupnik", the story of a precocious and quirky 10-year-old girl (based, in part, upon Lowry's own daughters) who wants to be a writer. Lowry would go on to write seven sequels to this book including "Anastasia Has the Answers" in 1986 and "Anastasia at This Address" in 1991, ; and five further books about Anastasia's brother Sam.

In 1980, Lowry published her most autobiographical work, "Autumn Street". The main character is a girl named Elizabeth, whose father is away at war. Elizabeth befriends her grandmother's African American cook Tatie and her grandson Charles. In the course of the story, Elizabeth encounters racism, her beloved grandfather's debilitating stroke, and the murder of Charles. In the end, with the love of her family, Elizabeth comes to terms with the fear and grief of the adult world. Elizabeth's story closely parallels Lowry's actual childhood in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. "Charles" was actually a girl named Gloria who was murdered during Lois's childhood. Gloria was the granddaughter of Fleta Jordan, who was a cook for Lois's grandfather, and Fleta was the real "Tatie." The real "Autumn Street" is actually named College Street and is in Carlisle. A lot of people like her books.

Lowry would go on to write several more books, including "Number the Stars" in 1989 and "The Giver" in 1993. "Number the Stars" tells the story of a young Danish girl and her Jewish bestfriend growing up in Nazi controlled Denmark. "The Giver" is about a boy, Jonas, coming to grips with the fact that the "Utopia" he lives in is far from perfect. Many of Lowry's works deal with somber topics, but Lowry manages to mix the comic and the tragic skillfully in a way that makes them enticing to readers both young and old. Following her characters as they cope with hard times, often with humor, helps her readers face the same issues. Lowry said the following of her own writing: "My books have varied in content and style. Yet it seems that all of them deal, essentially, with the same general theme: the importance of human connections. ... I try, through writing, to convey my passionate awareness that we live intertwined on this planet and that our future depends upon our caring more, and doing more, for one another."

Some of Lowry's works have been controversial because they tackle difficult subject matter. In particular, her 1993 book, "The Giver", has concerned some parent groups. This novel for young readers presents a dystopian view of a future society where history is hidden and where those who do not fit within the society's narrow definition of acceptability are "released." Many have deemed this material to be inappropriate for children, and as a result "The Giver" has been banned in some schools. Nevertheless, Lowry won a Newbery Medal for this book in 1994. She continues the controversial themes of "The Giver" in her books "Gathering Blue" and " Messenger".


The Giver Trilogy

*1993 "The Giver", winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal
*2000 "Gathering Blue"
*2004 "Messenger"

The Anastasia Series

*1979 "Anastasia Krupnik" ISBN 0-440-40852-0
*1981 "Anastasia Again!"
*1982 "Anastasia at Your Service"
*1984 "Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst"
*1985 "Anastasia on Her Own"
*1986 "Anastasia Has the Answers"
*1987 "Anastasia's Chosen Career"
*1991 "Anastasia at This Address"
*1995 "Anastasia Absolutely"

The Sam Series

*1988 " All About Sam"
*1992 "Attaboy Sam!"
*1996 "See You Around, Sam!"
*1999 "Zooman Sam"

The Tates Series

*1983 "The One Hundredth Thing About Caroline"
*1985 "Switcharound"
*1990 "Your Move, J.P.!"

The Gooney Bird Series

*2002 "Gooney Bird Greene"-winner of Rhode Island Children's Book Award
*2006 "Gooney Bird and the Room Mother"
*2007 "Gooney the Fabulous"


*1998 "Looking Back"


*1977 "A Summer to Die"
*1978 "Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye"
*1980 "Autumn Street"
*1983 "Taking Care of Terrific"
*1984 "Us and Uncle Fraud"
*1987 "Rabble Starkey"
*1989 "Number the Stars", winner of the 1990 Newbery Medal
*1997 "Stay! Keeper's Story"
*2003 "Silent Boy
*2006 "Gossamer"
*2008 "The Willoughbys


External links

* [http://www.loislowry.com/ Lowry's website]
* [http://www.loislowry.com/books.html Complete list of books] by Lowry
* [http://writerunboxed.com/2007/04/20/interview-lois-lowry-part-1/ Interview] with Writer Unboxed, April 20, 2007.
* [http://childrensbookradio.com/childrensbookradiopodcast25.mp3 Audio Interview] with Childrensbookradio, November 14, 2007.

NAME= Lowry, Lois
SHORT DESCRIPTION= American children's novelist
DATE OF BIRTH= March 20, 1937
PLACE OF BIRTH= Hawaii, United States

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