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Lois Lowry Books

Updated on March 6, 2014
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The Giver by Lois Lowry

People who have read The Giver, want to talk about it.
People who have read The Giver, want to talk about it. | Source

Lois Lowry is probably most well-known for her book, The Giver. The Giver is the first in the trilogy of books including Gathering Blue and The Messenger. The Giver has sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide and has been published in over thirty languages. While controversial in some states, causing it to be banned from schools, other states have it on their reading lists. Even though Lowry has published over 30 books for young adults, many of her books are popular with adults as well.

Themes

Lowry describes her books as having, “the same general theme: the importance of human connections.” Her books include topics such as the racism, the Holocaust, death of a sibling, questioning authority, and interdependence between people and their environment. In her first book, A Summer to Die, Lowry recalls the death of her sister and the effect such an experience has on a family. Even though many of Lowry’s books deal with serious topics, she is also known for humorous and light-hearted themes as well. A couple of examples are the “Anastasia” series and the “All About Sam” series.

About Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry was born in Hawaii on March 20, 1937, and then at age two, moved to New York. She lived in her mother’s hometown, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, during World War II, while her father served in the military; her father was an Army dentist. Lois was a middle sibling, with a younger brother named Jon, and an older sister named Helen. At age eleven, she moved to Tokyo up until high school, and then moved back to New York City. She attended Brown University in Rhode Island, and not long after, in 1956, married a Naval officer at the age of nineteen. They lived in California, Connecticut, Florida, South Carolina, and Massachusetts where her husband left the service and attended Harvard Law School.

In 1962, her older sister died from cancer; this had a huge impact on Lois. Next, they moved to Maine, and by this time they had four children under the age of five. Lois went back to college at the University of Southern Maine, earned her degree and went on to graduate school. It was at this time that she began to write professionally. While working on a freelance journalism project for Redbook magazine, Houghton Mifflin publishing company took notice and offered her the opportunity to write a children’s book; as a result, A Summer to Die was published in 1977. At the age of forty, she divorced. Several years later, her son Grey was killed in a fighter plane crash in 1995. According to Lowry, “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 she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her Tibetan Terrier, Alfie, and her cat, Lulu. She says she writes for her grandchildren and their generation, and in her own words will “try, through writing, to convey passionate awareness that we live intertwined on this planet and that our future depends upon our caring more, and doing more, for one another.”

Books by Lois Lowry

Novels

A Summer to Die. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977.

Here in Kennebunkport (with Frederick H. Lewis) Brattleboro, VT: Durrell Publications, 1978.

Autumn Street. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980.

Rabble Starkey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.

Number the Stars. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.

Looking Back: A Book of Memories. Boston: Houghton Mifflin / Walter Lorraine Books, 1998.

The Willoughbys. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008.

Crow Call. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2009.

The Birthday Ball. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2011.

Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918 (Dear America Series). New York: Scholastic Inc., 2011.

Bless This Mouse. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2011.

Science Fiction

The Giver. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.

Gathering Blue. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

The Messenger. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

Anastasia Series

Anastasia Krupnik. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979.

Anastasia Has the Answers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986.

Anastasia at This Address. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991.

Which Lois Lowry books have you read?

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Significant Awards

Summer to Die, Children's Literature Award, International Reading Association, 1978.
Autumn Street, American Library Association Notable Book Award citation, 1980.
Anastasia Again! American Book Award Nomination (juvenile paperback category), 1983.
Rabble Starkey, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Golden Kite Award, Society of Children's Book Writers, and Child Study Award, Children's Book Committee of Bank Street College, 1987.
Number the Stars, Newbery Medal, National Jewish Book Award, and Sidney Taylor Award, National Jewish Libraries, 1990.
The Giver, Newbery Medal, 1994.

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