Lois Lowry Lecture

Monday, May 17, 2010

This past weekend I had the chance to attend a lecture and book signing given by Lois Lowry. Her books The Giver and Number the Stars were two of the first that had a huge impact on me as a reader. I read both in grade school and reread them many, many times.

She's written many others, including two companion books to The Giver, that I've enjoyed, but it was those first two, which made her such an important author to me. In person she was clever, intelligent and wonderfully funny.

Lowry has had a fascinating life. She skipped second grade and graduated from high school at only 16. She attended Brown University, but dropped out when she was 19 to get married. She then had four kids by age 25 and yet still managed to become a successful author. 

(Lowry signing books after the lecture)

One thing I'd never heard of before her talk was her passion for photography. She's take portrait photographs for years and when her publishers asked what the girl on the cover of Number the Stars should look like, she sent them a shot she'd taken a decade earlier of a young girl. The publishers used that very shot on the cover (after Lowry got permission from the girl). The covers of The Giver, The Messenger and Gathering Blue also feature photos she's taken.

Lowry's book A Summer to Die was inspired by her own experience of her older sister Helen dying. The Giver was born of her father's struggle with Alzheimer's, which made Lowry wonder, wouldn't it be nice to forget everything sad or lonely that happened to you?

Hearing her talk definitely inspired me to read more of her work and gave me a deeper appreciation for what I've already read.

Top photo by moi.


Allie said...

I love The Giver. It is definitely one of the books I hold dearest to my heart. I'm jealous you got to hear her speak!

Shelley said...

Jealous! I've read several of hers and consider her a favorite author.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

The Giver is such a fascinating story and I love hearing the little tidbits from authors about what inspired a book.

Jenners said...

How interesting that she took the photos ... and no one has an excuse not to be an author if she can do it with four kids at the age of 25!!! No excuses!!! I really need to read her books ... so many people rave about "The Giver."