Lois Lowry's Blog


from a teacher

Posted by Lois Lowry
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on Friday, 14 December 2007 in Uncategorized

I'm a second grade teacher and am reading Gooney Bird Greene to my class. We read the last chapter today, although all the better readers have read ahead. After reading about Keiko wanting to bring a parasol when she told her story, one little guy asked, "Why does she need a power saw?"

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o. jimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

mmm...Entertainment Weekly, of all places!
Whenever I met people who seemed smarter and better educated than me (which, I must admit has been just about everyone i've come in contact with) I've asked them to give me a list of the books they love...not what they recommend, mind you, but what they love to read..I've collected lists, and I've become acquinted with marvellous writers. Once,I met a journalist from Colombia in Mexico city, who, when I asked him for a list of his favorite books, he dragged me to a market where booksellers set up their wares and ended up with a huge carry-on of books of Latin American authors, which I'm still trying to finish (and this was almost twenty years ago!) I have not stopped asking.
Most people shy away from revealing their likes in reading, but the majority feel so proud of their dear authors they eagerly show them off.
I feel very lucky that I've been exposed to literature from all nations, it's given me an extraordinary view of the intricate sphere that is our world. I'm also foturnate that I can read in several languages, especially when it comes to poetry, thus, I know first hand what Mr. Frost meant by "Poetry is what is lost in translation."
As for lists and Canons, it's great to see people's opinions of what might be considered outstanding. Lists, however, tend to be so difficult, and often biased, to be taken too seriously.
In his book WHY READ?
Mark Edmundson, author of TEACHER, makes an interesting statement:
"what books shall we get young people to read?...leave it up to individual teachers to offer tose books tat they think can change teir students' lives for te better. Let them select the books that are full of vital options. Let them choose the works that THEY THEMSELVES have been transformed by and that they think, now, can have the greatest effect on students."
Having said that, I have often browsed through lists of "must-read" "best-of-the-best" "award-winning" books, to see what's out there and what is considered above the rest. Then of course the fun starts, browsing through used book stores to get them (I'm not too excited about getting them on amazon or the like, I'm old fashioned in that I like browsing, the smell of old, used books, the unexpected finds on the shelves) then reading them, what delight, sometimes, not, though. There have been some books, I've never gotten past the first chapter.
THE GIVER, I think, is one of those books that stays in your mind, and slowly engenders a seed that grows and matures, long after you've read the last sentence...despite its YA designation, it had the impact on me of any adult fiction book. I felt so strongly about its message that I decided to share it with my daughter, who, is a mature eight-year-old.
("Let them choose the works that THEY THEMSELVES have been transformed by")
I wrote a dedication on its fly leaf "to Danielle with love and admiration form Papa" after she read it, and basically understood its message. (hopefully, she'll pass it along)
Although "lists" have cetrain merits they will never replace the power of "word-of-mouht."
I've whispered "THE GIVER" in many a parent's ear....

Susan Monday, 29 November 1999

I've read 25 on the list and have not liked them all, although Blindness is one of my top 10.
How about a list of YOUR all time favorites?

Annie Monday, 29 November 1999

Glad to see 'The Giver' get the recognition it so deserves. It's been one of my very favorites since middle school.
Also, thanks for posting about Jonas Sees in Color. I've checked them out and really like their sound. (Plus, they have great taste in books.)

Jonathan Albright Monday, 29 November 1999

Ms. Lowry,
It is an honor that Jonas Sees in Color was mentioned on one of your blogs! Please contact us if you would like to get ahold of a CD or T-shirt as a gift from us! (We'll be the Givers...)
Johnny and Jonas Sees in Color

Kate Monday, 29 November 1999

Thanks for putting Jonas Sees In Color here!
They are dear friends of mine and so very talented...

Justin Monday, 29 November 1999

I have seen Jonas Sees In Color live twice now. They are an amazing band, with so much love for everyone they meet. As their lead singer stated in a blog "(they) have a lot to say, so keep listening." I encourage everyone who reads this to listen to them.
Thank you for The Giver. Its a work of art, that has touched more live than you realize.

Anthony Monday, 29 November 1999

I've seen this band "Jonas Sees In Color" play many times and I love them dearly. I asked Johnny where the bands name came from sometime last year and he told me the name of your book and said Ryan could explain it better. No need, I went in late to work the next day cause I had to rush out and get my own copy to better understand such a wonderful band name. I fell in love with world you created. Your right they look nothing like the Community in your book. But then they are Color Seers. So they shouldn't, Right? I truly love the way the Giver holds on to the thing most special to him. I wouldn't want to give that away either. Thank you for this wonderful work and it totally earned it's place in this list of best books published since 1983. I'm so glad Jonas Sees In Color(JSiC) lead me to this book. I'm glad you wrote it. Thanks again...

AnitainOttawa Monday, 29 November 1999

I am not at all surprised that your book (The Giver) is on this list. If it were up to me, it would be right at the top. I have to be honest, I was obliged to read your book. I teach high school literature and the book had already been chosen for one of my classes. In fact, the whole trilogy had been chosen. Although I'm an avid reader, I don't tend to enjoy reading anything that has to do with utopian societies, nor do I like futuristic reads. Well, I started The Giver yesterday evening and I finished it this afternoon! I could not put it down! I cannot find the words to describe this book. I guess one word that quickly comes to mind is beautiful. I've enjoyed it so much that I cannot wait for September to come so I can share this with my students! Tonight I am beginning Gathering Blue. I'm very excited about it.
Thank you for your novels. You have given me a newfound appreciation for this type of novel-I might actually try to read Orwell's 1984 again...
English Teacher
Ontario, Canada
p.s. I agree with a previos comment-I'd love to see a list of your favorite novels. :-)

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