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Children as well as adults often ask Lois Lowry where the ideas for her stories came from. In this fascinating, moving autobiography, the Newbery Medalist answers this and many other questions. Her writing often transports readers into her own world. She explores her rich history...
Children as well as adults often ask Lois Lowry where the ideas for her stories came from. In this fascinating, moving autobiography, the Newbery Medalist answers this and many other questions. Her writing often transports readers into her own world. She explores her rich history through family pictures, memories, and recollections of childhood friends. She details pivotal moments that affected her life, inspired her writing, and that magically evolved into rich and wonderful stories that one is reluctant to put down. Lowry fans, and anyone interested in the writing process, will tremendously enjoy this poignant trip through a remarkable writer's past.
Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She has received two Newbery Medals, for Number the Stars and The Giver.
Using family photographs and quotes from her books, the author provides glimpses into her life.
"Imagine sitting on a sofa with a friend listening with fascination while she tells you about the pictures in her photo album. That is the feeling once has when browsing through this book of Lowry's family snapshots and reading her lively commentary on them. . . . The author's voice comes through strongly as she shares both her happiest and saddest times. . . . Much more intimate and personal than many traditional memories, this work makes readers feel that Lowry is an old friend." School Library Journal
How Do You Do An Introduction
When I was a child - very shy, very self-conscious - I was sometimes taken by my mother to events at which I would be introduced to adults who swooped at me with toothy smiles and unanswerable questions. I had a tendency to look at the ground, scrunch the hem of my dress in my hand, chew on a strand of my own hair, and scuff one shoe against the other during those painful moments.
"Look up!" my mother used to tell me. "Hold your shoulders straight! Look people in the eye! Say, 'fine, thank you, how are you?"
I tried, but it was excruciating. I wasn't fine at all, holding out my nail-bitten hand for a stranger to shake. I was paralyzed, mute, and hoping for a trap door to open beneath me so that I could disappear with a whoosh into some dark cavern where I could curl up with a book until the grownups stopped their socializing.
I still don't like introductions very much. Have you met my nephew, who once scored the winning touchdown for a college in the Midwest? I'd like you to meet Aunt Emma, who is visiting from Seattle, where she raises hybrid peonies. May I present Ogden Weatherbee, who invented the gyrating oscilloscope? I know you will enjoy making the acquaintance of Miss Smirkling, who does wonderful charcoal portraits of miniature poodles as a hobby. And here is Cousin Florence, with her triplets!
But I am all grown up now, so I have learned to stand up straight and hold out my hand. Here I am, looking right in the eye. I would like to introduce you to this book. It has no plot. It is about moments, memories, fragments, falsehoods, and fantasies. It is about things that happened, which caused other things to happen, so that eventually stories emerged.
At Boston's Logan Airport, in Terminal C, there is a kinetic sculpture: a sculpture that moves. Even though Terminal C has a food court, seafood restaurant, a bookstore, and even a beauty parlor, it is the always-in-motion, pinging, dinging sculpture that commands the attention of everyone: travelers, toddlers, and trash collectors.
A ball sets off from the top ding! and makes its way through tubes, across intersections, down lifts and stairs and slides; along the way it bumps into another ball chime! and sets that one rolling around corners and along passages, and eventually it, too, collides ping! with another and sends it on its way.
Everything that happens causes something else to happen. Just like life.
A dog bites a mailman and the mailman drops his bag and scatters some letters on the lawn. One disappears under a bush and is lost. Maybe it was a love letter. Maybe the woman who failed to receive the letter decided to heck with it and went to law school - or to Australia - or to a therapist; and because of that, the man who sent the letter but received no reply decided to buy a dog to keep him company; and then he took the dog to obedience classes, where it met a dog who had bitten a mailman, and...
Well, you get the idea.
Stories don't just appear out of nowhere. They need a ball that starts to roll.
Kids ask me all the time: "How do you get ideas?"
When I try to answer, in a general way, they zero right in. "Yes," they say, "but how did you get the idea for-"
Here, in this book, I have tried to answer some of the questions. I looked back, in order to do so, through snapshots of my own past. Here are some of the balls - ping! - at the moment when they start their trip down that complicated passageway that is called life but that also, magically, becomes fiction along the way.
I have given them titles. Strange, evocative titles, some of them, like "Looming Huge," and "Opening a Trunk." They may make you look back and recapture memories of your own. From the memories may come stories. Tell them to your friends. To your family. Tell them to me, won't you? Now that we've been properly introduced?
How do you do!
Posted July 23, 2012