Lois Lowry

  • Dec. 2nd, 2012 at 9:41 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: open book rose)
We're all on our own, aren't we? That's what it boils down to.

We come into this world on our own- in Hawaii, as I did, or New York, or China, or Africa or Montana - and we leave it in the same way, on our own, wherever we happen to be at the time - in a plane, in our beds, in a car, in a space shuttle, or in a field of flowers.

And between those times, we try to connect along the way with others who are also on their own.

If we're lucky, we have a mother who reads to us.

We have a teacher or two along the way who make us feel special.

We have dogs who do the stupid dog tricks we teach them and who lie on our bed when we're not looking, because it smells like us, and so we pretend not to notice the paw prints on the bedspread.

We have friends who lend us their favorite books.

Maybe we have children, and grandchildren, and funny mailmen and eccentric great-aunts, and uncles who can pull pennies out of their ears.

All of them teach us stuff. They teach us about combustion engines and the major products of Bolivia, and what poems are not boring, and how to be kind to each other, and how to laugh, and when the vigil is in our hands, and when we have to make the best of things even though it's hard sometimes.

Looking back together, telling our stories to one another, we learn how to be on our own.

Lois Lowry

  • Nov. 14th, 2012 at 10:40 PM
beth_shulman: (Default)
Impossible promises are what we must make to today's children. We also owe them honesty; and I would like to think that the two things are not mutually exclusive...

Lois Lowry

  • Oct. 2nd, 2011 at 12:15 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: black and white tree scene)
"Pain, too, is a gift of great value.  It is what makes us human."
beth_shulman: (stock: black and white tree scene)
...We all know that the events that happened under the regime of the Third Reich were the most huge and horrible events in the history of mankind.

But when I asked Annelise to describe her childhood then, she didn't describe anything huge and horrible. She said things like: "I remember being cold."

And: "I remember wearing mittens to bed."

Those were exactly the kinds of things — the small, almost inconsequential details of a child's life, from day to day, that I realized, quite suddenly, would tell a larger story.

I would be a terrible newspaper reporter because I can't write well about huge events. They use the verb cover in newsrooms. They send reporters out to "cover" things. But if they sent me out to "cover" some catastrophe, I would stand there watching while flood water carried away houses, and flames spurted into the sky, and buildings toppled, and victims were extricated by the hundreds. I would watch it all, and I would see it all. But I would write about a broken lunch box lying shattered in a puddle.

As a writer, I find that I can only cover the small and the ordinary — the mittens on a shivering child — and hope that they evoke the larger events. The huge and horrible are beyond my powers...

When I asked Annelise to describe, through the eyes of her own childhood, the German soldiers themselves, she said: "I remember the high shiny boots."

...As all writers do, I had to sift and sort through the details and select what to use. There were some that I had to discard, though I didn't want to. The image of wearing mittens to bed was one of those that eventually I had to let go of. The events about which I wrote took place entirely in October — it simply wasn't mitten weather yet. But I would ask you all tonight, sitting here as we are in great comfort and luxury, to remember that in the winter of 1943 a little girl wore mittens to bed because she was cold.

I certainly did use — and use and use — those high shiny boots. )

Lois Lowry

  • Aug. 18th, 2010 at 9:02 PM
beth_shulman: (Default)
"Take pride in your pain; you are stronger than those who have none." (Gathering Blue)

Lois Lowry

  • Jun. 20th, 2010 at 11:59 AM
beth_shulman: (black and white tree scene)
The man that I named The Giver passed along to the boy knowledge, history, memories, color, pain, laughter, love, and truth. Every time you place a book in the hands of a child, you do the same thing.
It is very risky.
But each time a child opens a book, he pushes open the gate that separates him from Elsewhere. It gives him choices. It gives him freedom.
Those are magnificent, wonderfully unsafe things.

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