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Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry Lois Lowry[2†]

Lois Lowry, born Lois Ann Hammersberg on March 20, 1937, in Honolulu, Hawaii, is a revered American author[1†][2†]. With nearly 50 books geared towards young adults since the 1970s, Lowry is celebrated for her literary contributions. By the early 1990s, she had clinched two Newbery Medals, solidifying her place in children's literature. Noted for delving into intricate themes, Lowry's works like "The Giver Quartet," "Number the Stars," and "Rabble Starkey" stand out. Her exploration of dystopian societies and profound subjects distinguishes her writing[1†][2†].

Early Years and Education

Lois Lowry was born as Lois Ann Hammersberg on March 20, 1937, in Honolulu, Hawaii[1†][2†]. She was the middle child of three, with an elder sister, Helen, and a younger brother, Jon[1†][2†]. Her mother, Katherine Landis, was a kindergarten teacher, and her father, Robert E. Hammersberg, was an army dentist[1†][2†]. His profession required the family to move often[1†][2†].

Lowry’s early education was influenced by her family’s frequent relocations. After moving from Hawaii to Brooklyn, New York, when Lowry was three years old, the family relocated again in 1942 to her mother’s hometown in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, when Lowry’s father was deployed to the Pacific during World War II[1†][2†]. Thanks to her voracious appetite for reading, she was able to skip the first grade[1†][2†].

After World War II ended, Lowry moved with her family to Tokyo, Japan, where her father was stationed from 1948 to 1952[1†][2†]. She attended seventh and eighth grades at the American School in Japan, a school for dependents of those involved in the military[1†][2†]. She returned to the United States when the Korean War began in 1950[1†][2†].

Lowry attended high school in Brooklyn Heights, New York, graduating from Packer Collegiate Institute[1†][2†]. She then enrolled at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1954[1†][2†][3†]. However, she quit in 1956 to marry Donald Grey Lowry[1†][3†]. They later divorced in 1977[1†][2†].

Despite leaving Brown University, Lowry continued her education while living in Maine in the 1970s. She studied at the University of Southern Maine and earned a bachelor’s degree[1†][4†]. In 2014, Brown University awarded Lowry an honorary Doctorate of Letters[1†][4†].

Career Development and Achievements

Lois Lowry’s career as an author began in the 1970s, and she has since written more than 30 books for young people[5†]. Her first book, “A Summer to Die,” was published in 1977[5†][6†]. Lowry’s works are primarily directed towards young adults, and she has explored complex themes and difficult subject matters in her books[5†][1†][2†].

Lowry’s reputation was solidified by the early 1990s when she won two Newbery Medals, prestigious awards given for the most distinguished children’s book of the year[5†][1†][2†]. She received these awards for two of her books: “Number the Stars” and "The Giver"[5†][6†]. “Number the Stars” won the Newbery Medal in 1990, and “The Giver” won in 1994[5†][2†].

In addition to the Newbery Medals, Lowry has received numerous other honors for her contribution to children’s fiction. These include the National Jewish Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award, and the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award[5†][7†]. She also received the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award[5†]. Other notable achievements include the Regina Medal, Hans Christian Andersen Award, and The ALA Margaret Edwards Award[5†][7†].

Despite the recognition and awards, Lowry’s books have not been without controversy. Some of her books, including “The Giver,” have been challenged or even banned in some schools and libraries[5†][2†]. Nevertheless, her works continue to be widely read and appreciated for their thought-provoking themes and storytelling.

First Publication of Her Main Works

Lois Lowry’s writing career began in the 1970s[7†]. At the age of 40, she published her first book, “A Summer to Die,” in 1977[7†][2†][6†]. This book was a serious drama that revolved around her life experiences and themes like terminal illness[7†].

After the publication of her first book, Lowry showed her lighter side with the 1979’s “Anastasia Krupnik,” which became the first in a series of humorous books[7†][8†]. This marked the beginning of her prolific career as an author of children’s and young adult books.

Here are some of her notable works:

Each of these works not only showcases Lowry’s storytelling prowess but also her ability to tackle complex themes and subject matters[7†][2†]. Her books have had a significant impact on young readers worldwide, making her one of the most influential authors in her genre.

Analysis and Evaluation

Lois Lowry’s work has had a profound impact on young adult literature. Her ability to tackle complex themes in an accessible manner has made her books a staple on required reading lists[9†].

“The Giver,” published in 1993, is one of Lowry’s most influential works[9†][10†]. This dystopian novel explores what happens when a community gives up its memories, both positive and negative[9†][10†]. The protagonist, Jonas, experiences a shift in his perception of reality after he is chosen to become the next Receiver of Memory[9†][10†]. The book’s exploration of memory and its impact on our lives was inspired by Lowry’s personal experiences with her aging father[9†][10†].

Lowry’s other well-known work, “Number the Stars,” published in 1989, is also serious without being excessively complex[9†]. Both “The Giver” and “Number the Stars” have earned Lowry Newbery Medals, highlighting her significant contribution to the field[9†].

Despite the acclaim, some of Lowry’s books, particularly “The Giver,” have faced challenges or bans in certain schools and libraries due to their complex themes[9†]. However, these challenges have not diminished the influence of Lowry’s work. Her books continue to resonate with young readers worldwide, making her one of the most influential authors in her genre[9†].

Personal Life

Lois Lowry was born as Lois Ann Hammersberg and grew up as the middle child of three. She had an elder sister, Helen, and a younger brother, Jon[2†][1†]. Her mother, Katherine Landis, was a kindergarten teacher, and her father, Robert E. Hammersberg, was an army dentist[2†][1†]. His profession required the family to move often[2†][1†]. Although Lois Hammersberg was born in Honolulu, she also lived in Brooklyn[2†][1†]. In 1942, the year after the U.S. entered World War II, her father was called to duty, and she, her siblings, and her mother moved to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where her grandparents lived[2†][1†].

Lois Lowry married Donald Lowry at age 19, and because he was in the military, they lived in various places[2†][4†]. The couple had four children: Alix, Kristin, Grey, and Ben[2†][4†]. After her husband had left the military, the family settled in Portland, Maine, and Lowry resumed her studies[2†][4†]. The couple failed to develop a long-lasting bond and parted ways in 1978[2†][7†].

Lowry’s sister, who was only in her 20s, was diagnosed with cancer and died in 1962[2†][1†]. This personal tragedy had a profound impact on Lowry and influenced many of her works[2†][1†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Lois Lowry is an incredibly talented and influential author who has left a lasting impact on the world of literature[11†]. Her thought-provoking and emotionally compelling novels have captivated readers of all ages, addressing important themes such as freedom, individuality, and the complexities of human nature[11†].

Lowry’s work, particularly “The Giver Quartet,” “Number the Stars,” and “Rabble Starkey,” is known for its exploration of difficult subject matters, dystopias, and complex themes in works for young audiences[11†][2†]. Her ability to write about these challenging topics has made her books not just stories, but also reflections on society and humanity[11†][2†].

She has won two Newbery Medals: for “Number the Stars” in 1990 and “The Giver” in 1994[11†][2†]. Her book “Gooney Bird Greene” won the 2002 Rhode Island Children’s Book Award[11†][2†]. Many of her books have been challenged or even banned in some schools and libraries[11†][2†]. Despite this, “The Giver,” which is common in the curriculum in some schools, has been prohibited in others[11†][2†], demonstrating the profound impact and sometimes controversial nature of her work.

In conclusion, Lois Lowry’s legacy is one of courage and creativity. She has pushed the boundaries of children’s literature, tackling complex themes with grace and sensitivity. Her work continues to inspire readers and writers alike, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape of literature[11†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Britannica - Lois Lowry: American author [website] - link
  2. Wikipedia (English) - Lois Lowry [website] - link
  3. Britannica Kids - Lois Lowry [website] - link
  4. SunSigns - Lois Lowry Biography, Life, Interesting Facts [website] - link
  5. ThoughtCo - Biography of Lois Lowry [website] - link
  6. CliffsNotes - The Giver - Lois Lowry Biography [website] - link
  7. Literary Devices - Lois Lowry [website] - link
  8. Biography - Lois Lowry [website] - link
  9. Early Bird Books - The Lasting Influence of Lois Lowry and Her Work [website] - link
  10. Book Analysis - The Giver by Lois Lowry - Book Analysis [website] - link
  11. Facts.net - Turn Your Curiosity Into Discovery [website] - link
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