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Juvenile Books Author of the Month
Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
20 March 1937 -- ???

Lois Hammersberg was born on March 20, 1937 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Robert E. and Katherine (Landis) Hammersberg. She was the middle child of three with an older sister named Helen and a younger brother named Jon. Her father was an army dentist stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. At the outbreak of the war, Lois moved to Pennsylvania in Amish country to live with her mother's family.

She had always known she would write books. She once said, "I remember the feeling of excitement that I had, the first time that I realized each letter had a sound, and the sounds went together to make words; and the words became sentences, and the sentences became stories. I was very young - not yet four years old. It was then that I decided that one day I would write books ... That was an aspiration that I never put aside. Under my photograph -- me, seventeen, blonde, laughing -- in a 1954 high school yearbook -- are the words 'future novelist'". [2]

As for reading, Lois has always enjoyed realistic fiction. She first read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn when she was 11 years old, and she fondly remembers being read The Yearling when she was nine. She still lists both as being favorites to this day.

After the war, Lois and her family lived briefly in Japan before returning to the United States to attend boarding school. In 1954, she started taking classes at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Lois left her sophomore year at Brown University to marry Donald Lowry, a lawyer, on June 11, 1956. "That was in the '50's, and that's what you did when somebody asked you to marry him; immediately you gave up your academic aspirations. Then I had four children by the time I was twenty-five," said Lois, looking back on her life. [7] The couple's four children are named Alix, Grey, Kristin, and Benjamin. Lois and Donald divorced in 1977.

Eventually Lois returned to college and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1972 from the University of Southern Maine. She continued with her education with some graduate work.

It was at this time that Lois started to publish some of her writing. She started by writing textbooks while she was a graduate student. She also spent some time as a professional photographer of children. It did not occur to her to write children's books until a short story she had written for a magazine caught the eye of an editor.

With the help of that editor, Lois published her first children's book, which was entitled A Summer to Die, in 1977. The book was critically acclaimed.

Lois once explained to Contemporary Authors that writing for children was not all that easy. "An awful lot of people believe the myth that it's easy to write for kids, so they think they can sit down and do it on Sunday afternoon after the dishes are done. People who think that are wrong. They should spend their time reading books for young people. A lot of them think they can write for young people but they haven't read what's being written, so they aren't familiar with it. I think, in general, anybody who wants to write anything should a, read a lot and b, write a lot, and quit worrying about who's going to buy it. It seems to be a part of the current generation, which is very impatient, to want to sit down and write something and sell it. If they'd concentrated on the writing instead of the selling, they'd probably end up a lot better off. But it's tough to convince them of that. Instant gratification seems to be very important these days." [7]

Recently, her son Grey, an air force pilot stationed in Germany, was killed when his plane crashed upon takeoff. Lois put together a book about him with the hopes of sharing with the world what a wonderful person he was. The book, which was filled with photographs and brief text, would hopefully let his young daughter have a chance to get to know her father.

She now lives in West Cambridge in Boston, Massachusetts with her dog, a Tibetan Terrier named Bandit. She enjoys spending her weekends in New Hampshire, where she has a Nineteenth Century farmhouse surrounded by flower gardens and the woods. She is now the author of more than twenty novels, and the recipient of numerous awards. She enjoys knitting, cooking, and, of course, reading. She even has her own little eccentric shelving system.

Information for this biography was taken from:
1) "Author Profile", TeenReads.com; http://www.teenreads.com/authors/au-lowry-lois.asp
2) Anne Commire (ed.). Something About the Author, #23; Gale Research Company: Detroit, Mich., 1981.
3) Tony DiNuzzo [et al.]. Learning About Lois Lowry; http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~kvander/lowry.html.
4) Kate Houston. "About Lois Lowry", Association for Library Service to Children; http://www.ala.org/alsc/lowry.html.
5) Carol Hurst. "Featured Author: Lois Lowry"; Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site; http://www.carolhurst.com/authors/llowry.html.
6) "Lois Lowry", Internet Public Library Youth Division; http://www.ipl.org/youth/AskAuthor/Lowry.html.
7) "Lois Lowry, 1937-", Gale Literary Databases; http://www.galenet.com.
8) "Lois Lowry's Biography", Authors Online Biography @ Scholastic; http://teacher.scholastic.com/authorsandbooks/authors/lowry/bio.htm.
9) "Lowry, Lois - March 20, 1937 -, Author"; Educational Paperback Association; http://www.edupaperback.org/authorbios/Lowry_Lois.html.
10) Lois Lowry. Looking Back: A Book of Memories; Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, Mass., 1998.

J-P-LOW All About Sam (1988) -- The adventures of Sam, Anastasia Krupnik's younger brother, from his first day as a newborn through his mischievous times as a toddler.

J-Lowry Anastasia Absolutely (1995) -- Join Anastasia Krupnik as she tries to deal with a new dog, her school values class, and a personal moral dilemma.

J-P-LOW Anastasia Again! (1981) -- Twelve-year-old Anastasia is horrified at her family's decision to move from their city apartment to a house in the suburbs.

J-LPeD-LOW Anastasia, Ask Your Analyst (1984) -- Anastastia's seventh-grade science project becomes almost more than she can handle, but her brother Sam and a bust of Freud aid her nobly.

J-P-LOW Anastasia at This Address (1991) -- Ready for romance, thirteen-year-old Anastasia answers an ad in the personals with an exaggerated description of herself but soon runs into trouble when the unknown man turns up at a friend's wedding.

J-LPeD-LOW Anastasia at Your Service (1989) -- Twelve-year-old Anastasia has a series of disasterous experiences when she is hired as a maid but expects to be the woman's companion.

J-P-LOW Anastasia Has the Answers (1986) -- Anastasia continues the perilous continues the perilous process of growing up as her thirteenth year involves her in conquering the art of rope climbing, playing Cupid for a recently widowed uncle, and surviving a crush on her gym teacher.

J-Lowry Anastasia Krupnik (1979) -- Anastasia's 10th year is filled with things like falling in love and really getting to know her grandmother and some bad things like finding out about an her new baby brother.

J-Lowry/J-P-LOW Anastasia on Her Own (1985) -- Her family's new organized schedule for easy housekeeping makes Anastasia confident that she can run the household while her mother is out of town -- until she hits some unexpected complications.

J-P-LOW Anastasia's Chosen Career (1987) -- Anastasia acquires poise and self-confidence, a new friend, and advice on becoming a bookstore owner when she commutes to Boston to take a modeling course.

J-Lowry/J-P-LOW Attaboy, Sam! (1992) -- Sam is able to help his sister Anastasia with the poem she is writing for their mother's birthday, but his own efforts to create a special perfume are disastrous.

J-Lowry Gathering Blue (2000) -- Lame and suddenly orphaned, Kira is mysteriously removed from her squalid village to live in the palatial Council Edifice where she is expected to use her gifts as a weaver to do the bidding of the all-powerful Guardians.

J-Lowry The Giver (1993) -- Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

J-Lowry/J-P-LOW Number the Stars (1989) -- During the German occupation of Denmark in 1943, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.

J-LOW/J-P-LOW The One Hundredth Thing About Caroline (1983) -- When their mother starts to date the mystery man on the fifth floor who has been instructed by his agent to "eliminate the children" by the first of May, Caroline and her older brother figure they're targeted to be the victims of a savage crime.

J-P-LOW See You Around, Sam! (1996) -- Sam Krupnik, mad at his mother because she won't let him wear his new plastic fangs in the house, decides to run away to Alaska.

J-P-LOW Switcharound (1985) -- Forced to spend a summer with their father and his "new" family, Caroline and J.P. are given unpleasant reponsibilities for which they are determined to get revenge.

J-LPeD-LOW Taking Care of Terrific (1983) -- Taking her overprotected young charge to the public park to broaden his horizons, babysitter Enid enjoys unexpected friendhips with a black saxophonist and a bag lady until she is charged with kidnapping.

J-Lowry Zooman Sam (1999) -- Four-year-old Sam's appearance as a zookeeper at his nursery school's Future Job Day leads him to a number of exciting activities and discoveries, including readingl.

"Author Profile", TeenReads.com (http://www.teenreads.com/authors/au-lowry-lois.asp) -- Visitors can find a brief interview with Lois Lowry.

Tony DiNuzzo [et al.]. Learning About Lois Lowry (http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~kvander/lowry.html) -- Besides a quick biography, information and reviews for some of Lowry's most popular works can be found at this site.

Kate Houston. "About Lois Lowry", Association for Library Service to Children (http://www.ala.org/alsc/lowry.html) -- This site provides visitors with a brief biography of the author as well as a list of the awards she has won and a complete list of her books.

Carol Hurst. "Featured Author: Lois Lowry", Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site (http://www.carolhurst.com/authors/llowry.html) -- A fairly in-depth biography of the author can be found at this site.

"Lois Lowry", Internet Public Library Youth Division (http://www.ipl.org/youth/AskAuthor/Lowry.html) -- The author has provided a brief autobiography at this site, which is supplemented with an interview with her.

"Lois Lowry's Biography", Authors Online Biography @ Scholastic (http://teacher.scholastic.com/authorsandbooks/authors/lowry/bio.htm) -- Quick facts on the author's life frame her brief autobiography.

"Lowry, Lois - March 20, 1937-, Author", Educational Paperback Association (http://www.edupaperback.org/authorbios/Lowry_Lois.html) -- This site provides a reprint of a biography provided in the Fifth Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators, which was published in 1983.

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