Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Lois Lowry

The letter L is the one that propelled me into this A-Z author blogging.  Lois Lowry has been one of my favorite authors since 1994, when I read The Giver for the first time.

Back then, there were dystopian novels, like Huxley's Brave New World, or Orwell's 1984.  There were also young adult novels for every genre from fantasy to horror.  (Remember Goosbumps?)  It wasn't until The Giver, published in 1993, that the young adult dystopian was born.

Since then, dozens, even hundreds of authors have run with the idea to the point where many dystopian fans have grown tired of the formula.  Which is why it's so refreshing to read The Giver quartet, a series based on human connection rather than action and looming death.

But like all the authors on my top 10 list, Lois Lowry is more than a skilled story teller.  She is an inspiration to writers, particularly writers in her field.  When asked in an interview with the Huffington Post whether she'd ever considered writing a book specifically aimed at adults, she gave one of the best reasons to write for children I've ever come across:

"Early on I came to realize something, and it came from the mail from the kids. That is, kids at that pivotal age, 12, 13 or 14, they're still deeply affected by what they read, some are changed by what they read, books can change the way they feel about the world in general. I don't think that's true of adults as much. I'm an adult, I read, I'm no longer going to be changed by it. I think writing for kids is profoundly important."

I just wish there were more writers out there like her, writing for an audience that can still be shaped and influenced, and using that platform to promote love and compassion.

Lois Lowry, you're my writing hero.


  1. What an incredible quote. I already loved Lois Lowry, but she's moved up a notch or two on my list, just for that. And I agree with you 100%. YA authors need to be reminded of this sometimes. (Me included.) Thanks, Trisha!

  2. I love that quote too. And that is almost why I don't want to write for children. I'd rather not have that responsibility. :)

    Great post, Trisha, as always.

    1. I can see that being a huge deterrent in the YA or middle grade genre. I think Lois Lowry said when she first sat down to write The Giver, it was a challenge. She'd never written sci-fi before, and she was dealing with her aging father's memory loss. She just sort of came up with the story from there. I think she does an amazing job at being honest with her audience about life in a way that is non-threatening, which makes her well suited for child audiences. I don't think 1 in 50 YA writers can say the same, but it's something to strive for.

      (I think adults are still susceptible to the messages in books. I read an article not long ago that talked about how books and movies can actually end a relationship, or cause a spouse to contemplate divorce based on plot. Or you hear about women reading romance--even something as mundane as Twilight--and complaining that they are in a loveless marriage because their husbands don't act like the guys in the books. It's kind of sad. I'm not blaming the writers at all, I think every genre, and age group, can be the catylist for change. I just think we see the most good happening at a younger audience level.)

  3. I listened to The Giver on CD with my son, and it lead to some wonderful discussions. I agree, that this book is a several steps above the rest.

    I've been hesitant to read the other books because I loved the thoughtful ending of the first so much. Are the others still as good?

    Great post!

    1. I love the other books, but I understand your hesitation. If you like the ambiguous way The Giver ended, it would still be okay to read Gathering Blue, I think. I don't think you find out what happened to JonaS and Gabe until the third book, Messenger. Son, like the rest of the books, is beautiful in its own right, and I don't think I personally would have enjoyed as much before I had children. It finishes out the loosely connected stories nicely. It is a great series.

  4. She is one of my all time favorite authors and inspirations. And The Giver is an incredible book! Thanks for your post reminding that I need to read it again soon.


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